Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Church is Selling: Who's Buying?

Money, Money, Money, Money ...Money!

Money is the bait. Ancient, "historic," Christian traditions is the hook. Contemplative spirituality is the line. And a paradigm shift straight into a panentheistic hell is the sinker.

I had been really stumped as to how certain blatantly unbiblical heresies have managed to take root within the evangelical Christian Church to the alarming degree that they have, until I stumbled upon [at least part of] the answer while researching something else entirely.

I was following the money trail on some interfaith organizations that put on a big show of being "Christian" (but are certainly not the brand of Christianity we find in the Bible), and to my amazement, I found that a common denominator in many of the financial grants, bestowed upon so-called "Christian" outreaches, included a stipulation that the grant recipient commit to the restoration of ancient, historical Christian traditions.

For those who do not know what ancient, historical Christian tradition means, allow me to interpret. In general, ancient, historical Christian tradition means mystical, contemplative, Roman Catholic, Christian traditions. It has no relation to anything protestant, evangelical or biblical whatsoever. In particular, it means the tradition of a Christianized form of eastern meditation called contemplative prayer (also known as centering or soaking prayer).

In application and experience, there is little to no difference between transcendental meditation and contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is transcendental meditation. But instead of repeating "ooom," or whatever, the "Christian" meditator might repeat the name "Jesus" or one of the various names of God (or a short Bible verse). The end result for the Christian however, is identical to that of the Hindu or any other practitioner of eastern mysticism. If the Christian mystics get it just right, they will achieve a state of altered consciousness. And if they get it really right, they might even experience a good high. They eventually become awakened to the unity and oneness of all creation, and come to the lofty [though unbiblical] understanding that God is in every one and everything (would that understanding facilitate an acceptance of a one world religion?).

Back to the money, since the Bible obviously does not support "Historic Christian Traditions," and is not a major, or even minor, component in leading protestant evangelicals down the contemplative path to mystical oneness. It seems there are those with deep pockets willing to take a crack at buying out evangelical Christianity. And they do not seem to be hurting for customers.

Take, for instance, The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program which has at its core, a commitment to recover the wisdom of the Christian tradition for our contemporary situation (that's code for contemplative). The foundation boasts of investing more than $29 million dollars into more than 700 congregations since the year 2000. The Lilly Endowment also feeds other grant foundations which are "enriching contemporary religious life by an appreciative recovery and critical re-appropriation of the riches of the Christian tradition."

Congregations are being paid handsomely, through grant monies, to allow their pastors the "privilege" of attending clergy renewal retreats where they can travel, worship, explore their faith, and recover the wisdom of historic Christian traditions together with leaders from many denominations and quasi-Christian religions.

The hopeful result of these retreats is of course to bring Christian leaders into a more ecumenical and universalist mindset, which would logically be the first step to ultimate acceptance of a one world religion, which would conceivably include all faiths and religions.

In looking at the retreat rosters for the year 2000, I expected to see Universalists, Unitarians, Roman Catholics and some of the more ecumenical protestant congregations participating in the clergy renewal programs. And I did see them. But I was shocked to see that, from the very beginning, traditionally conservative Christians such as Baptists and Mennonites were among grant recipients and retreat participants as well.

What is worse, the number of conservative congregations selling out by sending pastors on these heretical retreats has been steadily increasing, with each passing year seeing more and more denominations participating. Among grant recipients for the year 2007, there were many more Baptists than were represented in the year 2000. There was more than one Mennonite congregation, a Moravian congregation, and a Church of God.

The following is an excerpt from the National Clergy Renewal Program 2014 press release:

“Since 2000, more than 1,900 congregations across the nation have received grants in the National Clergy Renewal Program to support the renewal programs of their pastors. Congregations in the 2014 program received grants totaling more than $5 million. Christian congregations were invited to apply for program grants of up to $50,000. Up to $15,000 of the grant could be allocated to fund interim pastoral leadership as well as to support renewal activities within the congregation.”

   The number of conservative congregations selling out by sending pastors on these heretical retreats has been steadily increasing, with each passing year seeing more and more denominations participating. The list of 2014 grant recipient denominations includes:
  • A host of Non-Denominational churches
  • Presbyterian
  • Lutheran
  • Christian Reformed
  • United Methodist
  • Holiness
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Episcopal
  • Congregational
  • United Church of Christ
  • Church of Christ
  • Christian Church
  • Christian Methodist Episcopal
  • Baptist
  • Church of the Brethren
  • Antiochian Orthodox Church
  • Reformed Church
  • Catholic Churches
  • United Protestant Church
  • Community Church
  • Mennonite
   All of these received up to $50,000 in exchange for sending their pastors on an extended sabbatical which included a clergy renewal retreat.
   This is frightening.
    And the Lilly Endowment is not the only philanthropist organization buying out the Christian Church. There are many organizations bestowing big bucks in the form of grant money on Christians willing to sell their birthrights for bowls of pottage.

The church is selling, the philanthropists are buying. Do we even want to know who is behind the philanthropists? Who do we know of who might have a vested interest in promoting a one world religion?

It is as our Lord said the love of money truly is the root of all evil.

1 comment:

Darcy said...

Hi Jocelyn, its Darcy. Have not heard from, or spoke to you in forever. I havve a comment about repeating the name of Jesus. That bothers me. I know in our praise, and worship service, I have done that with my hands lifted, in worship. What is wrong with mediating on the Lord, and saying his name? I do not understand this. Darcy.