January 31, 2012 Steps to Life Newsletter
Welcome to a new year! We have some exciting and helpful programs to share this year. 2012 is shaping to be one without precedent as world politics continues to reshape, financial pressures build, unemployment levels rise, civil unrest builds and society tries to cope with the incessant changes. We must always remember that God in love has foretold these trends and events in the great Bible prophecies and promises if we commit ourselves to him, he will guide us along life’s journey.
A significant reshaping in the religious world is being achieved by a concept of spirituality and movement in seeking after God. It’s across churches, even religions. The label it goes under is that of the emergent or emerging church.
The Journey Along Satan’s Continuum into the Practices of the Emerging or Emergent Church Movement, Spiritual Formation, Centring or Contemplative Prayer
Satan’s continuum journey can start with a little bit of attractive error mixed with a lot of truth and good. It depends where your point of entry is – where you are at spiritually when you encounter it – and who introduces it to you. Satan then encourages us on a journey, of a sometimes miniscule step at a time, moving us to where we are accepting a lot of error mixed with a small amount of truth and good. If we could see the end at the beginning we would not start down the road. But at the journey’s start, the destination is not easily evident. The Bible says ‘Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.’ Col. 2: 8 Origins of spiritual understandings, customs and practices can be very important in providing clues as to where they might potentially lead us.
We all individually need spiritual revival but must be selective in the route we take to get there. Practices borrowing from the emerging/emergent church movement, spiritual formation and centering/contemplative prayer road maps, mix little bits of poison with wholesome food. ‘We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares. It is one of Satan's devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility.’ (Great Controversy, 587.1)
Briefly, here are some identifying characteristics of the emerging/emergent church movement, spiritual formation and centering/contemplative prayer. The list is not encyclopaedic. For a more detailed descriptive analysis, books like The Omega Rebellion:
What Every Adventist Needs to Know (Rick Howard), Omega II: God’s Church at the Brink and Omega (Lewis Walton), A Time of Departing (Ray Yungen), and Faith Undone (Roger Oakland), in part or in whole, trace the origins, history, subtleties, characteristics, practices, decorative packaging and destination of this mystical movement. Ellen White dealt with the topic in the context of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the time of John Kellogg using terms like the ‘alpha and omega of apostasy’ and more generally ‘popular revivals’. She strongly warned of the omega of apostasy that would impact just before Jesus returns. We should be on guard against it taking us in. Pantheistic and panantheistic (God in nature and God in us therefore we are like gods, etc!!) concepts form the foundations of the movement.
There are various types of revival happening in different ways and in various places around the world. Australia is not excluded. Some are sound while others have their origins in mystical and New Age philosophy, Catholicism, Eastern religions. In the third quarter of 2011, we studied in Sabbath School the danger of God's people mixing pagan practices and beliefs into their religion. Syncretism is as dangerous and deadly today as it was back then. The ecumenical movement is based on the principles of syncretism – unity in diversity instead of unity in God’s one truth!.
The emerging/emergent church movement is not a church called the ‘The Emerging Church’. The label describes spiritual, so called, revival and reformation practices which when traced to their sources have their roots in Satan’s two original lies – ‘And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Gen 3: 4, 5) It was present in heathen forms of mystical worship (One example is the sect known as the Desert Fathers who were mystics in Egypt of the third and fourth centuries) while the counter reformation originator, Ignatius Loyola wrote extensively on the mystical practices of contemplative/centering prayer and spiritual formation (Books like Spiritual Exercises)
Briefly, centering or contemplative prayer is a term used to describe prayer practices which are repackaged from eastern and mystical type prayer practices that follow the methodology of emptying the mind, repeating mantras, visioning a place or event and listening to your own thoughts, even responding to the people in the scenes being imagined who start to speak to you.
Spiritual formation is a methodology for using a spiritual director to guide you in your spiritual disciplines. The guide, because they are on a higher level of spirituality, is not to be questioned but followed. Ignatius Loyola put forward the concept of following like a ‘living corpse’. (See Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Charles Chiniquoy). At the journeys start the practices have different names, they come in packages that emphasizes the attractiveness of the good that they are mixed with. Satan fishes with a baited hook. If we take the bait, we also swallow the hook. The Biblical teaching of spiritual growth is one of reasoning, thinking, Bible study and prayer, led by the Holy Spirit. Line upon line, precept upon precept. Testing all things against what the Bible says. Not unthinking obedience.
Spiritualistic deception is the common link between all world religions. It is the means bringing about the three-fold alliance of Revelation 16: 13-14. Don’t be part of it. If you see it in your church, speak out against it.
Pastor Ted Wilson, General Conference President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church said publicly in his July 3, 2010 acceptance speech: ‘We must be vigilant to test all things according to the supreme authority of God's Word and the council with which we have been blessed in the writings of Ellen G. White. Don't reach out to movements or mega-church centers outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church which promise you spiritual success based on faulty theology. Stay away from non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism, such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and the emerging church movement in which they are promoted.’ ( http://news.adventist.org/20 1 O/07/sabbath-sermon-story.html )
We are very thankful to the Lord for the smooth way in which the refurbishment was completed. It was a massive job moving everything and cleaning the studio to hand back to the landlord. We are very happy the way studio #1 now looks and we have incorporated a new kitchen to prepare the dinners for our health seminars. Call in some time and visit us and browse our new book store.
March Seminar Series: Daniel and Sylvia Pel: In His Image
The brochure advertising the places and times for the seminar weekends is included with this Newsletter. Their message is pertinent and Daniel in part will be taking up the unmasking of the emergent church movement. Sylvia will be providing a three part mini series entitled Healing the Broken Mind. We hope to see you at the seminar. Please note starting time on Sabbath is 10:30am. To lessen the strain on attendees and the speaker we are only having four programs on Sabbath.
Depression Recovery Program Reunion
The 90 or so participants in the four DRPs STL has conducted over the last two years have been invited to attend a reunion evening in February. We have been excited to hear their recovery stories. The reunion will help us further encourage them and give them a chance to review the recommended strategies for keeping depression away.
Depression Recovery Program for 2012: Starts June 18.
Because of the need to consolidate those who have already completed the DRP, other commitments and availability of trained staff, we are able to offer only one DRP this year. It starts June 18. Folks have already commenced booking in. Its not too early to book now.
Charcoal and Caffiend Brochures
There has been a strong demand for these brochures for personal use and for health outreach. We are about to do another print run of both. If you would like to place an order for bulk quantities of the brochure please phone and let us know asap and we will include your order in our print run. You can have them for cost plus the cost of postage.
Sunday Health Seminars Continue in 2012
Your interest in the Sunday Health Seminars and the DVDs made from them has ensured that we will run them again in 2012. Our first one is on February 5 with Kaye and Peter Sehm. (Vegan cooking and the use of a range of herbs for natural remedies). The second is on the 19th of Feb with Dr David Bird, the medical director of Highwood Health. For the morning session he will be covering topics like chronic fatigue, burnout, fibromyalgia and allergies. In the afternoon his topic is The Famous Five Natural Remedies. Later in the year Kaye and Peter return for two more seminars, this time with Karen Walters. Karen cured herself from multiple sclerosis and obesity. She is a qualified nursing sister, a herbalist/naturopath and will be sharing her amazing story of recovery. As well, Oscar Sande, an experienced health presenter, will be providing two programs based on simple natural health principles and focusing on digestive and colon health. All presentations will include, as far as possible, practical demonstrations and demonstration of vegetarian/vegan recipes.
Grand Parents Live-In Retreat
Grand parents have a unique role to play. They get virtually no training or support in their roles. Yet they often end up as part time, even full time, careers for their grand children, advisors to their children and children in law and spiritual mentors for multiple families. This can be at a time when they thought that they would have time for themselves in retirement and at a time when they need to ensure they can care for their own physical and mental health.
In recognition of this, STL has commenced planning a grand parents retreat for July 13, 14, 15, 2012. We will keep you informed as our plans become more concrete. We already have a very interesting and person oriented speaker arranged, who with his wife, is a number of years down the grand parenting track and has much to share that will be encouraging, uplifting and supportive. If you attend you will have a chance to also benefit from the life experiences of other grand parents in attendance. Stay tuned for more information as we are able to release it.
Christian regards from Cherryl and the STL Team
Brian Way - Programs Coordinator
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