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Oprah Winfrey, new age pagan believer an honored guest at Osteen’s “church”

“Houstonian Diego Quintanilla, who was sitting near the duo, tweeted: “I’m freaking out!! I can’t breathe! It smells like money and amazingness!!”

And that quote pretty much typifies the mindless, shallow & Biblically illiterate  that attend Osteen’s “church”

from The Houston Chronicle:

Oprah Winfrey created a buzz Sunday in Houston with a surprise appearance at the 11 a.m. service at Lakewood Church.

Oprah is in town interviewing Pastor Joel Osteen as a part of her new series Oprah’s Next Chapter premiering in January on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

The show will feature conversations with real people, newsmakers and celebrities.

Seated in the front row of the crowd of roughly 13,000, Oprah and Tyler Perry were announced as guests at the service. Houstonian Diego Quintanilla, who was sitting near the duo, tweeted: “I’m freaking out!! I can’t breathe! It smells like money and amazingness!!”

Oprah joined Osteen and his wife, Victoria, for lunch at their home and spoke with them about faith, marriage, power and ego, according to Lakewood officials.

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from My Word Like Fire:

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (Bold mine) (The Message, Romans 15:13)

Huh? What God of “green” hope? Why does The Message do this?

Before we examine what seems suggestive of earth reverence/earth worship, let us restate some of what has been covered elsewhere about The Message:

A generation has been raised on this disturbing “paraphrase” of the Bible. This is the primary version so many now rely on, and nationally known preachers quote from it with regularity. Yet, as we have seen, The Message flat out omits the sin of homosexuality from several key passages. We see this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and also in 1 Timothy 1: 8-11 (READ).

Does the acceptance and use of The Message explain why many Christians are lukewarm on the issue of homosexuality? Certainly The Message is not the only factor–we dwell in a pro-homosexual media/culture–but place this “Bible” in a person’s hands and it can have, over time, significant influence. How can we understand God’s Truth when Truth is no longer there to be read?

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. (Proverbs 4:20-21)

The beloved author of The Message, Eugene Peterson, has now endorsed two heretical books: The Shack, and Rob Bell’s sly ode to universalism, Love WinsThe Message, bluntly stated, seems written to make Christians less knowledgeable about the Word of God. While that may seem a strong comment, please consider what Eugene Peterson himself said about the Bible:

Why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? (Bold mine) How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text which has a separate life of its own and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we’re doing it….[Christians] should be studying it less, not more. You need just enough to pay attention to God….I’m just not at all pleased with the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more the better.” [1] (Bold mine)

I believe The Message is forerunner to a christless, sinless bible that will be used by the false church. There will be a “christ” mentioned, but not our Christ. Not the sinless Savior of humanity. Sin will be addressed, of course, but perhaps more in line with the Alcoholics Anonymous generic theology of “wrongs” and “making amends.”

Homosexuality will be perfectly acceptable, even sacred. And nature, the earth itself, will be worshiped. We have already addressed Eugene Peterson’s removal of homosexuality and other sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, but he also inserts the phrase “use and abuse the earth,” something the Lord did not place there at all.

 Here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from The Message:

“Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who do not care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.” (Bold mine)

Did you catch that? Peterson’s version claims those who “use and abuse the earth” will not be saved!

Here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, from the NASB:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

You will not find this apparent form of earth-reverence in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in any reputable translation of the Bible. It simply is not there.

You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

Remember this past Easter? Some were not simply celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. According to Jan Markell:

“A very special week was hijacked by the environmental movement last week. What is known as Earth Day landed on the same day as Good Friday, so our crucified Lord had to share the spotlight that day. And if you think this was only the typical antics of the religious Left, think again. Evangelicals have now jumped into this arena. The cause of caring for God’s creation is our responsibility, although we cannot ‘save the planet’ as many herald. Should conservative Christians really be making the theological leap that it was significant that both observances were placed on the calendar on the same day?” [2] (ARTICLE)

It has started, even in the church. Perhaps especially in the church. Earth/nature worship is going to increase in scope and intensity. Peterson’s insertion of ”green” into Romans 15:13 shows us the way the false church will go. This changes the understanding of the passage, allowing a potential God/nature/earth interpretation that simply is not there.

Oh! May the God of green hope* fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (Bold mine) (The Message, Romans 15:13)

Why has Peterson never corrected these things, in all the years The Message has been with us?

Here is NASB, Romans 15:13: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

You may disagree with my view of the coming false church, and how The Message fits into this. I understand. But I hope you understand the seriousness of what Peterson has done. He has omitted, and he has added. The Message should not be used by the Body of Christ at all.

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from The Daily Mail:

The face of the military is changing.

What used to be seen as a bastion for evangelical Christianity is now expanding its lists of faiths to include Wiccans and Druids.

At the Air Force Academy in Colorado, a prayer circle and veritable Stonehenge on the Rockies will now serve as a place of worship for the academy’s neo-Pagans.

The Colorado school has long faced criticism for only supporting evangelical Christianity.

Lt Gen Michael Gould, the academy’s superintendent, said before a ribbon cutting ceremony on the site on Tuesday: ‘This outdoor worship space is something we have created to help people of all religions.’

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the academy is home to about ten cadets who regularly attend ‘earth-centred’ worship groups which include New Age religion, paganism, Wicca, druids and ancient Norse beliefs.

Cadet Nicole Johnson, a member of the earth-centred group, told the Gazette: ‘This is very important for us, we didn’t have a place to call our own, to be outside in nature.’

Ms Johnson said she and the others had to meet in an engineering classroom before pushing for the construction of the Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle was erected on a 7,200-foot hill top that overlooks the main cadet chapel.

Major Joshua Narrowe, a rabbi at the academy, said chaplains signed off the earth-centred chapel and pushed for its construction. He said though they are not a big group, it is a religious need.

Last year at the academy, a cross which was made from rail road ties and erected at another outdoor site that was used for Wiccan rites sparked controversy.

And it appears they are not taking their chances with the pagan chapel either. Security is tight at the site and there are several cameras surrounding the circle of stones with several signs warning that it is under surveillance.

The Rev David Oringdreff, who heads a Wiccan congregation in Texas, offered prayers at Tuesday’s ceremony and said: ‘Nowhere except for the United States of America would this be possible.’

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from Herescope:

The Holy Spirit as Personal Comforter

The idea of “practicing the presence of God” is meaningless. Do we also practice the omniscience of God; or perhaps, we need to practice His omnipotence? – Pastor Ken Silva

The point in this quote above is well said. As various forms of mysticism invade the evangelical church today, heresies about the nature of the Holy Spirit and His actions, are running rampant. Evangelicals are being told that in order to connect with the divine, they must meditate, contemplate and practice various new/old forms of mysticism. This has no biblical foundation, but rather more closely approximates the views and practices of eastern meditation. In fact, those of us who formerly practiced Transcendental Meditation in its many manifestations easily recognize this heresy — and the dangers of connecting with the spirit world. But our prior experience in this realm doesn’t mean that the warnings we issue will be heeded.

These two quotations below illustrate the mindset of eastern mysticism:

Prana is a subtle invisible force. It is the life-force that pervades the body. It is the factor that connects the body and the mind, because it is connected on one side with the body and on the other side with the mind. It is the connecting link between the body and the mind. The body and the mind have no direct connection. They are connected through Prana only.

Yoga works primarily with the energy in the body, through the science of pranayama, or energy-control. Prana means also ‘breath.’ Yoga teaches how, through breath-control, to still the mind and attain higher states of awareness. The higher teachings of yoga take one beyond techniques, and show the yogi, or yoga practitioner, how to direct his concentration in such a way as not only to harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge his consciousness in the Infinite.

The eastern worldview errs by attempting to connect with the divine through various mystical activities. The eastern mind uses meditative mechanisms to encounter the world of the spirit and become one with it. In the corruption that is called “Christian mysticism,” the Holy Spirit becomes confused with a “force,” something that can be manipulated by mystical pursuits in order to achieve a higher order of spirituality.

The Holy Spirit is downgraded from a Person in the Trinity to becoming a means of “connection” to spirituality itself, often presented as a chief “spirit” among many in the modern pantheon. The locus shifts to the person meditating and their own subjective spiritual experiences. The meditator mistakes experience for the Divine; a fool’s gold shining in the rays of self absorption which substitutes for the “gold tried in the fire” (Rev. 3:8).

While enmeshed in the eastern mindset, then, it is difficult (if not impossible) to view the Godhead according to Scripture.

In contrast to the seductions of these errors, we offer a solid biblical refutation by J.C. Philpot, in a selected excerpt from “Meditations on the Person, Work, and Covenant Offices of God the Holy Ghost,” by J.C. Philpot (1802-1869), On Matters of Christian Faith and Experience, Vol. 1 (Old Paths Gospel Press) (406-466-2311), pp. 187-192). . . . .

read the full article here.

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from The New York Times:

Yoga is practiced by about 15 million people in the United States, for reasons almost as numerous — from the physical benefits mapped in brain scans to the less tangible rewards that New Age journals call spiritual centering. Religion, for the most part, has nothing to do with it.

But a group of Indian-Americans has ignited a surprisingly fierce debate in the gentle world of yoga by mounting a campaign to acquaint Westerners with the faith that it says underlies every single yoga style followed in gyms, ashrams and spas: Hinduism.

The campaign, labeled “Take Back Yoga,” does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism. The small but increasingly influential group behind it, the Hindu American Foundation, suggests only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.

That suggestion, modest though it may seem, has drawn a flurry of strong reactions from figures far apart on the religious spectrum. Dr. Deepak Chopra, the New Age writer, has dismissed the campaign as a jumble of faulty history and Hindu nationalism. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said he agrees that yoga is Hindu — and cited that as evidence that the practice imperiled the souls of Christians who engage in it.

The question at the core of the debate — who owns yoga? — has become an enduring topic of chatter in yoga Web forums, Hindu American newspapers and journals catering to the many consumers of what is now a multibillion-dollar yoga industry.

In June, it even prompted the Indian government to begin making digital copies of ancient drawings showing the provenance of more than 4,000 yoga poses, to discourage further claims by entrepreneurs like Bikram Choudhury, an Indian-born yoga instructor to the stars who is based in Los Angeles. Mr. Choudhury nettled Indian officials in 2007 when he copyrighted his personal style of 26 yoga poses as “Bikram Yoga.”

Organizers of the Take Back Yoga effort point out that the philosophy of yoga was first described in Hinduism’s seminal texts and remains at the core of Hindu teaching. Yet, because the religion has been stereotyped in the West as a polytheistic faith of “castes, cows and curry,” they say, most Americans prefer to see yoga as the legacy of a more timeless, spiritual “Indian wisdom.”

“In a way,” said Dr. Aseem Shukla, the foundation’s co-founder, “our issue is that yoga has thrived, but Hinduism has lost control of the brand.”

For many practitioners, including Debbie Desmond, 27, a yoga instructor in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the talk of branding and ownership is bewildering.

“Nobody owns yoga,” she said, sitting cross-legged in her studio, Namaste Yoga, and tilting her head as if the notion sketched an impossible yoga position she had never seen. “Yoga is not a religion. It is a way of life, a method of becoming. We were taught that the roots of yoga go back further than Hinduism itself.”

Like Dr. Chopra and some religious historians, Ms. Desmond believes that yoga originated in the Vedic culture of Indo-Europeans who settled in India in the third millennium B.C., long before the tradition now called Hinduism emerged. Other historians trace the first written description of yoga to the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu scripture believed to have been written between the fifth and second centuries B.C.

The effort to “take back” yoga began quietly enough, with a scholarly essay posted in January on the Web site of the Hindu American Foundation, a Minneapolis-based group that promotes human rights for Hindu minorities worldwide. The essay lamented a perceived snub in modern yoga culture, saying that yoga magazines and studios had assiduously decoupled the practice “from the Hinduism that gave forth this immense contribution to humanity.”. . . . .

read the full article here.

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the leader of one false religion finding common ground in the rites of another false religion!

from Yahoo News:

“Evidence of a close connection between a relationship with God and the ethics of love for everyone is found in many great religious traditions”, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his “Verbum Domini” (The Word of the Lord) apostolic exhortation released at Vatican City on November 11.

Talking about “dialogue with other religions”, he voiced Catholic Church’s respect “for the ancient religions and spiritual traditions of the various continents. These contain values which can greatly advance understanding between individuals and peoples. Frequently we note a consonance with values expressed also in their religious books, such as…in Hinduism, the sense of the sacred, sacrifice and fasting…”

This about 200-page document is addressed to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful.

Prominent Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcomed Pope’s overtures on interreligious dialogue and suggested him to invite world Hindu leaders to Vatican City and enter into a comprehensive dialogue as he had done with few other religions in the past.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that serious and honest interfaith dialogue was the need of the hour. Religion was the most powerful, complex and far-reaching force in our society, so we must take it seriously. And we all knew that religion comprised much more than our own particular tradition/experience.

After intensive deliberations, this proposed meeting of Catholic-Hindu leaders should come up with a concrete plan about the common religious concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social and economic development, etc. Maybe this gathering could become an annual feature after that, Rajan Zed added.

Zed further says that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. Dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations. As dialogue brings us reciprocal enrichment, we shall be spiritually richer than before the contact.

Rajan Zed stressed that in the spirit of Synod of Bishops 2008 which recommended “strengthening inter-religious dialogue”, Pope should visit a Hindu temple in the near future to promote mutual understanding and respect between the faiths.

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from ChronWatch:

What would you think if you walked into a public hall, expecting to see a Christian worship service, and saw people prancing around in animal costumes? 

Lucky us, we don’t have to imagine such a thing. We can see the video, courtesy of Youtube.  In fact, you probably couldn’t imagine it.  You gotta see it to believe it.

We are talking about footage shot at the Presbyterian Church USA’s recent General Assembly. That’s a meeting where PCUSA delegates from all over the country gather to see how much harm they can inflict on their denomination.

But now let’s go to the videotape!

Exhibit A

This might easily be confused with out-takes from “The Wicker Man,” but it’s supposed to be the processional service that opens the Assembly’s proceedings.  Here we see Christians costumed as skunks, bison, raccoons, and other animals, all hopping about.  Over them towers a tall, creepy figure which may be intended to represent the current occupant of the White House.  Apologists for this scene say it’s just PCUSA’s way of paying homage to “native American spirituality,” more familiarly known as paganism.

 As shudderingly awful as this is, Exhibit B is even worse:

Here we have some enormous, goggle-eyed “puppets”–they look like something borrowed from a Mardi Gras parade–shuffling about, while a couple of dancers cavort all over the floor and someone sings an interminable hymn about “social justice,” more familiarly known as communism.

What’s with all the dancing, anyway? Do they get the head of John the Baptist when they’re done?

Not captured on videotape, but reported by eyewitnesses, were numerous “prayers” offered up to Mother Earth, “Goddess Sophia,” and several other non-Christian hobgoblins. We are not told whether the delegates also prayed to Baal, Ashtoreth, or Speedy Alka-Seltzer.  Occasionally the name of Jesus Christ was invoked as one of many gods.

In case these images alone fail to convince one that the PCUSA is no longer a proper Christian church, the actual work done by the delegates should close the deal.  Here’s what they accomplished:

*They rejected a definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, leaving the PCUSA without any definition of marriage at all.  Maybe they ought to buy a dictionary–or even a Bible, if they can stand the sight of one.

*They abolished fidelity and chastity requirements for church officers; so now a Presbyterian elder can rank below a politician on the moral totem pole. Who would have believed that was possible? You may get tossed out of Congress for propositioning an undercover cop in a public rest room, but if you’re an elder in the PCUSA, anything goes.

*They voted to spend $7-10 million to extend assorted benefits to church employees with same-sex “partners,” to be funded by mandatory payments squeezed from all PCUSA congregations, even the ones that are still Christian.

There was a lot of griping when they couldn’t quite swing the votes for a total commitment to homosexual pseudomarriage–but, hey, that just gives them something big to shoot for next year. There’d be even more griping if the General Assembly ever ran out of ways to insult God.

Now, if the GA delegates are not pagans, why do they do such a cracking good imitation of paganism? What’s the point of that?  It’s like pretending to be drunk in public.

Virtually invisible, but nevertheless present at the Assembly, were Christian delegates. What they were doing there, and what they hoped to accomplish there, stumps me.  Individuals, families, and whole congregations are fleeing the PCUSA in numbers that would gravely alarm the executives of any other kind of organization.  

But the PCUSA leadership acts like it sincerely believes that all it has to do to stop the bleeding is throw in a few more dancers, ring in a few more costumes, and find a few more imaginary gods to pray to. And if that doesn’t work, they can always go whole-hog for left-wing politics.

The only question left is this. Can any church’s leadership truly be that clueless, that wooden-headed, that welded to sheer folly?  Or are they only pretending to be so, and purposely trying to drive the PCUSA into extinction?

Only the costume rental company knows for sure.

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