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Emergent Mysticism – Part 3

Emergent Mysticism - Part 3

Mosaiek kerk - EmergentEmergent Mysticism: A biblical appraisal of the Mosaic Congress – Mosaic Church (4-5 Sept. 2009) – Part 3

Session 2: “Transfiguration: Up and down the mountain” by Trevor Hudson.

On the second page of their very smart and glossy programme booklet that was handed out to the congressional participants and public during the Mosaic Congress, there is a quote by Thomas Keating which reads as follows:

A new formulation of the spiritual journey for Christians is urgently needed today that will be faithful to the Scriptures and tradition but is expressed in contemporary language and understanding (Emphasis added).

Welcome conversation

Johan Geyser takes the relay stick from Keating’s hand and continues to run with the idea of a new formulation of the spiritual journey for Christians when he says:

Dear delegate

Our spirituality needs to be approached in a different way – a holistic manner – that encapsulates theology, psychology, neurology and the other disciplines that shape the world as we know it.

It needs to be based on the example of Jesus, be faithful to the Bible, and the traditions and heritage of the Church, that age-old entity embodying God’s plan. . . .

This Congress hopes to create a platform to engage in conversations to grow towards an integrated, holistic spirituality, where we as community can have an impact in a changing world (Emphasis added).

Trevor Hudson2

Never once in the entire Bible are we commanded to encapsulate theology, psychology, neurology and other disciplines that shape the world. Why would God urge us to use things that shape the world when the world is at enmity with his Son, Jesus Christ, and hates Him to the hilt? (John 15:18). The most obvious reason why Johan Geyser, Trevor Hudson, Stephan Joubert and their fellow journeymen at Mosïek Church encourage their church members to encapsulate theology, psychology, neurology and many other disciplines is because they are head over heels encapsulated by the doctrines of demons. It is impossible to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and the Bible when you resort to godless disciplines like psychiatry and psychology to formulate a new spiritual journey for Christianity. In doing this Johan Geyser, Trevor Hudson, Stephan Joubert and their cronies are essentially saying that Jesus Christ and the Bible are not sufficient to address all the spiritual needs of mankind. Indeed, they are not being faithful to the Bible. If they had they would’ve believed  the apostle Peter who wrote:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  (2 Peter 1:2-3)

The Berean Call sums up the Mosaïek Church’s abhorrent idolatry as follows:

Psychology, with its psychotherapeutic counseling, has been embraced by evangelicals more than almost any other unbiblical endeavor that has entered the church in the last half-century. “Christian psychologists” are generally more popular and influential than preachers and teachers of the Word. What evangelical in America doesn’t know of psychologist Dr. James Dobson? The psychologically oriented American Association of Christian Counselors boasts 50,000 members. The evangelical church is one of the leading referral services for secular counselors (whether they claim to be Christians or not!). Like their secular counterparts, the second-most popular career choice for students at Christian colleges is psychology. What makes this information truly shocking is the fact that the roots, concepts, and many of the psychological counseling practices come from “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

First Timothy 4:1 is a prophetic verse. It foretells that “in the latter times,” that is, the time near the return of our Lord, “some will depart from the faith.” This is supported by other verses such asLuke:18:8: Jesus asked, “…when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The implied answer is no. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, declares under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that a “falling away” from the faith will characterize the Last Days. But haven’t many professing Christians departed from the faith since the time of the Apostles? Yes. The rest of the verse, however, indicates a condition that is unique to our present day. Those who profess to be Christians will give “heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Doctrines of devils are designed to undermine what is taught in the Scriptures. They reflect the strategy that Satan instituted in the Garden of Eden when he seduced Eve into disobeying God. The chief of the seducing spirits began his direct communication with Eve by raising doubts in her mind as to what God had commanded: “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis:3:1). The serpent’s dialogue with her led her to believe that God had lied to her: “And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.” Although God instructed Adam and Eve that the punishment for disobeying Him by eating the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden would be death (Genesis:2:17), Satan twisted that around, making God not only a liar but also the one who was withholding what they needed for their self-improvement and for realizing a supposed higher potential.

It was Sigmund Freud who declared that “religion is the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity.” Furthermore, there is evidence that Freud hated Christianity, which he erroneously regarded as anti-Semitic. How then would this atheistic rejecter of organized religion advance doctrines of devils? By founding the “religion” of psychoanalysis. None of Freud’s theories, whether psychic determinism or psychosexual development or belief in the unconscious, have any scientific validity; moreover, they are religious beliefs that are antithetical to the doctrines of the Bible. Research psychiatrist Thomas Szasz had Freud primarily in mind when he declared, “…modern psychotherapy…is not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion.” [1]

And then enters Trevor Hudson with a very feisty and invigorating exegesis (or is it eisegesis) of Jesus Christ’s transfiguration on the mountain (Matthew 17: 1-16). At first I was very hopeful and waiting in great anticipation for a sermon that in the beginning seemed to be more biblical and less contemplatively mystical.

To my dismay, however, Trevor’s presentation, like that of Johan Geyser, wandered off into to the mysterious and dark corridors of contemplative thoughtlessness (in accordance with Geyser’s advice to stop thinking). Toward the conclusion of his paper he elatedly and nearly breathlessly declares that Peter, James and Johnsaw “everything in Jesus and Jesus in everything.” They saw a “Christ-shaped world.” on the Mount of Transfiguration.Here are his contemplatively gilded words when he described this spiritual journey:

As we go on this journey with Jesus into these experiences, we dis . . . — we use a big word here and just try and unpack it a bit – we discover the sacramentality of this universe, that this universe, this universe is like a sacrament; its like this whole universe is God’s holy land, because when they get up, you remember this, when they get up, what do they see? Do you remember? Go back to the story. You read the story! What do they see when they get up? They see Jesus only. They see everything in Jesus and Jesus in everything, huh? . . . They see a Christ-shaped world. (Emphasis added).

Trevor Hudson must have  forgotten, and conveniently so, that God is going to destroy with fire his so-called sacramentalized universe. Ouch! why would God want to destroy with fire a Christ-shaped world?

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:3-7)

“Sacramentality” is the mysterious notion or mentality that everything is sacred or holy. Stephan Joubert holds to the same idea that everything is holy.  Indeed, it is a very big word and I doubt whether the three disciples, Peter James and John, understood it in the manner Trevor Hudson describes it. Let’s just briefly rewind our conversation to Johan Geyser’s presentation “Holy Longing” when he said the following.

. . . she (Mary) had an insight that none of the other disciples had about the death, the meaning of the death of Jesus. Nobody could see it. The only person . . . was a woman and it was Mary that did the sitting. The sitting prepared and helped her to listen to Jesus at a deep inner level and to hear things that other people couldn’t hear. And it inspired her to action, to love, to love. . . . (Emphasis added)

Mary sat at Jesus feet…

Because Mary had supposedly sat at Jesus’ feet in a contemplative mindset she moved beyond her reason and perceived and understood things about His death that no one else, not even the disciples, were able to fathom. And yet, her miraculously acquired knowledge by just sitting with Jesus and being induced with this higher knowledge was superseded by the disciples miraculously induced knowledge when they saw Jesus in everything and everything in Jesus on the mount of transfiguration,and a Christ-shaped world.

The meaning of his death was to them a complete mystery but his superhuman prowess to be in everything while He was still enshrouded in a physical body is something they understood perfectly well when they moved beyond their reason . . . huh? Indeed, a superhuman shift beyond one’s reason is an absolute necessity if you want to see someone who’s confined to a physical body in everything. Huh? If Jesus was able to permeate everything and if it were possible for everything to permeate Him while He was still living in a physical body on earth, it would have been unnecessary for Him to comfort his disciples with these words:

John 16:5-8 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.

While He was still living in his pre-resurrected physical body Jesus could never indwell his believers. His presence nigh his disciples when He walked the earth was something very precious but there was something much better and more desirable than Him being NEAR his followers and that is to dwell IN them. This is precisely why He said “It is more expedient for you (his disciples and all the believers throughout the ages) that I go away.

If he hadn’t ascended to his Father in heaven, the Holy Spirit could not have been poured out on the Day of Pentecost and consequently indwell all Christ’s followers (believers). The notion that Christ is in everything and everything is in Christ implies that the Holy Spirit is in everything and therefore everything must be holy. Psychology is holy, neurology is holy, meditation is holy, yoga is holy, all religions are holy; nothing is unhallowed, everything is holy. In Fact, the entire universe is sacramentally holy. Huh? I just wonder why God said:  “. . . touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). He must have been delirious when He said this. How can you touch an unholy or unclean thing when everything is holy?

I must admit it really takes some doing to see what the disciples saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. These kinds of strange contemplative eisegeses come to the fore, as I said in my comment on Johan Geyser’s presentation, when you add new meaning to passages in Scripture by placing emphasis on certain words and phrases over and above those that warrant greater importance. The most important lesson of Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain was not what the disciples saw but what they heard. In fact what they saw led them to a wrong conclusion.

As a Jew Peter instinctively knew that the transfiguration pointed to the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom on earth. He saw in this event the fulfillment of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles which looked back in hindsight to the wanderings in the wilderness for 40 years and forward to Israel’s regathering in their own land just prior to the establishment of Christ’s 1000 year Kingdom on earth.

What Peter thought he saw was happening before his eyes was the actual inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom. His timing, of course, was wrong and God had to intervene. They heard his voice in a cloud that said Jesus is His beloved Son with whom He is well-pleased AND THAT THEY SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM (OBEY HIM). Why should we listen to Him and obey Him? Well! because He is the Person who God anointed to fulfill all our needs. We need no-one and nothing else because He is all-sufficient for all our needs and yet Johan Geyser and his contemplatives have the audacity to say: “Our spirituality needs to be approached in a different way – a holistic manner – that encapsulates theology, psychology, neurology and the other disciplines that shape the world as we know it.”

Imagine God the Father having so say: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am semi-pleased and to assist Him in His redemptive and sanctifying work I have sanctioned psychology, neurology and the other disciplines that will shape the world in the end-times. Listen to the psychologists and neurologists. Huh? . . .  huh? In one of my many debates on the Internet about the proposed fidelity of psychology in Christianity, I wrote the following:

Let’s examine a few things what a few psychologists have said of their own profession.

  • The Shaman . . . can be viewed as an early psychotherapist. (Herbert Bensen, M.D. Harvard professor)
  • In 1986, at the AHP’s (Association for Humanistic Psychology) 24th annual meeting held at San Diego State university, several shamans (witch doctors) were the key speakers. Their objective was to teach participants how to develop or invoke shamanic altered states of consciousness conducive to contact with spirit beings.
  • The basic model of man that led to the development of [Eastern] meditational techniques is the same model that led to humanistic psychotherapies (Lawrence LeShan, past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology {AHP}.
  • The core of the problem, which psychological and psychiatric research has not resolved yet, and is unlikely to resolve, consists in a correct distinction between pathological behaviour of a psychic nature and demonic invasion (Eugenio Fizzoti, Professor The Psychology of Religion, School of Education, Pontifical Salesian University, Rome)
  • When we think of religion, we usually think of a large institution . . . prescribed doctrines . . . a power of structure . . . dogmas . . . When I say “spiritual,” however, I’m trying to get back to the original experience that led to the development of religion in the first place . . . [through] altered states of consciousness . . . The exciting thing about transpersonal psychologies [is] . . . you don’t have to believe . . . some religious tract written hundreds or thousands of years ago [such as the Bible]. Techniques can be developed, whether they be meditation techniques or psychotherapeutic techniques or whatever that lead people back to the experiential basis that gave rise to religion in the first place. (Charles Tart, University of California Professor of Psychology)
  • Although few psychologists accept all of Freud’s theorizing, his views on the presence of unconscious thoughts, wishes and feelings are now nearly universally accepted. (Bruce Narramore, leading Christian Psychologist).
  • Under the influence of humanistic psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, many of us Christians have begun to see our need for self-love and self-esteem. This is a good and necessary focus. (Bruce Narramore).
  • Erich Fromm, an atheist, popularized the idea of self-love. He got it from Nietzsche. One of Fromm’s books was Ye Shall be as Gods. He took the lie of the serpent for its title. In his book, Man for Himself, he justified the idea that we all hate ourselves and we need to learn to love ourselves by saying Jesus taught it when He said, “love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Matthew 12:39).
  • It is indeed shocking that many, if not most forms of psychotherapy currently offered to consumers are not supported by credible scientific evidence. (R. Christopher Barden, psychologist, lawyer and president of the National Association for Consumer protection in mental Health Practices)
  • Psychiatry has been willing to sanctify its values with the holy water of medicine and offer them up as the true faith of “Mental health.” It is a false Messiah. (E. Fuller Torrey, Internationally respected psychiatrist) (Emphasis added).

Yet Johan Geyser and his cronies at Mosaïek Kerk lovingly sanctify psychology with the holy water of their emergent mystagogy, suggesting that the holy Gospel of Jesus Christ is insufficient to address all of mankind’s problems.

Why would any Christian want to follow a false Messiah? Beats me!

Nothing can be more obvious to see Jesus only after Moses and Elijah who had appeared with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration suddenly disappeared again. Their sudden disappearance happened when the three disciples lay face down in dire fear of God’s voice in a cloud and when they stood up from the ground they saw Jesus only. Its as simple as that. There is no need to attach a new mind-blowing (a movement beyond reason) and an esoteric meaning to the words “Jesus only.”

Matthew could just as well have written “And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only because Moses and Elijah who appeared with Him had already departed” The million dollar question is: Why do the contemplatives do this? Why do they extract from biblical passages certain words and phrases and embroil an entire new eisegesis around it? The simple answer to this is: Because they want to promote their contemplative agenda at all cost.

What is the contemplatives agenda? What do they aim to achieve? Well, in a nutshell, they aim not only to repaint, rehash, refurbish, and re-think the Bible; they also want to spread the Kingdom of God on earth that is allegedly already on earth. Hence their relentless efforts to persuade the Christian Church that everything is holy (according to Rob Bell), that the entire universe is like a sacrament and already God’s holy land, that Christ is in all and all is in Christ, and that we are living in a Christ-shaped world.

The irony is that the so-called “Christ-shaped world” hates HIS guts and all HIS true followers or disciples (John 15:18). Surely, Jesus must have had a very quaint sense of humour when He said that His “Christ-shaped world” is steeped in the evil one (Satan) (1 John 5:19). If everything is already holy and Jesus Christ is in everything and everything is in Him, why do we need a biblical metanoia (a change of mind for the better in abhorrence of your past sins and rebellion against God)?

Oh! but we do need a metanoia but let’s change its meaning and purpose by adopting Marcus Borg’s definition thereof who said that “metanoia means to move beyond your reason” while we all follow his example and happily reject Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. A reasonless beast has more wisdom than that, especially when you take into account Balaam’s donkey that did everything in its power to stop the prophet from continuing on his maddening and cerebrally devoid spiritual journey. Johan Geyser, Trevor Hudson and Sephan Joubert would do well to call out in agony: “Oh, a donkey, a donkey, my kingdom for a donkey” and rather consult a donkey, the  more rational one in this instance, to stop them on their journey and crazy endeavor to formulate a new spirituality for Christianity.

If the Kingdom of God is already here; if everything is holy and the world is already Christ-shaped, surely we have no need to preach a Gospel of faith and repentance toward Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross. Surely, there is no need for that when everyone is already in Jesus Christ and He is in everyone? Surely, Paul would then have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to write:

And be [not] conformed to this already Christ-shaped world: but be ye transformed by the moving of your mind beyond reason, that ye may rethink and rehash what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God, Hoh? . . . Huh? (Romans 12:2).

In his book “Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic” on pages 65 and 66 Leonard Sweet writes:

“This is my body” is not an anthropocentric metaphor. Theologian/feminist critic Sallie McFague has argued persuasively for seeing Earth, in a very real sense, as much as a part of the body of Christ as humans.

We are all earthlings. Indeed, in the biblical view of creation human earthlings do not stand at the apex of God’s handiwork – nature has an identity and purpose apart from human benefit. But we (humans and the earth) constitute together a cosmic body of Christ.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

The only thing left to do in our already Christ-shaped world, is to pour our lives out on behalf of others – the poor, the destitute, the outcasts etc. Let’s follow

Mother Theresa’s exemplary example who poured her life out for the poor and the destitute in Calcutta, India but sent them into a Christless eternity because she never preached the unadulterated Gospel of Christ to them. She believed her task was to “help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. (Read here and here)Brian McLaren reiterated the very same sentiments when he said:

I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts . . . rather than resolving the paradox via pronouncements on the eternal destiny of people more convinced by or loyal to other religions than ours, we simply move on.

Brian McLaren

Brian McLaren

To help Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and everyone else experience life to the full in the way of Jesus (while learning it better myself), I would gladly become one of them (whoever they are), to whatever degree I can, to embrace them, to join them, to enter into their world without judgment but with saving love as mine has been entered by the Lord (A Generous Orthodoxy, 260, 262, 264).

He could just as well have said: “It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts . . . despite their rejection and hatred of His substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross.”

The Hollywoodian nonsense “Heaven can wait” applies while the emergent contemplatives venture “to help Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and everyone else experience life to the full in the way of Jesus.” It is consequently no strange thing to see the emergent contemplatives embracing Eastern mystical practices, especially those steeped in Buddhism.

The spiritual journey, therefore, is the journey of the Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and everyone else being miraculously infused with THE WAY OF JESUS. His example and not his doctrines (commandments) need to be induced into all religions. The light of Jesus needs to miraculously transfigure (transform) individuals of whatever religious persuasion so that we all may work in tandem (unity) to make this world a better place. And guess what the common denominator is in achieving this miraculously infused or induced spiritual way?  Yep, you said it, MEDITATION.

It doesn’t matter what brand of meditation you use, be it Yoga, contemplative or centering prayer, Christian meditation or any other kind, they all serve the same purpose – to receive enlightenment, a new gnosis which is miraculously induced (initiated) so that we may achieve our goals on this planet. Benjamin Creme, the self-appointed John the Baptist of the Maitreya has this to say about his own brand of meditation called “Transmission Meditation.” If you look closely you will see some correlation between Johan Geyser’s use of the word “induced” and Creme’s use of the word “transmission.”

Transmission – A Meditation for the New Age, Creme explains that the time is past to focus on one’s own spiritual progress without engaging in some form of service. Transmission Meditation, he says, is the simplest way to do both – at the same time.

Ah! that’s an enlightening statement, especially when you take into account Teresa of Avila’s eisegesis to combine Martha’s active life and Mary’s contemplative life (Luke 10:38-42) with the purpose of producing an industrious and fruitful contemplative follower of Jesus who not only sits in silence when meditating contemplatively but also goes into the world to pour his/her life out on behalf of others.

They seem to have discovered that a full-blown contemplative life where you just sit and meditate in silence in a kind of Monastic ascetic lifestyle (the highest kind of life, according the The Cloud of Unknowing and Johan Geyser) is of very little value to others. Benjamin Creme noticed this when he said “the time is past to focus on one’s own spiritual progress (or journey) without engaging in some form of service.” He continues to say:

Transmission Meditation is a group service activity which ‘steps down’ the great spiritual energies that continually stream into our planet, focused by the Masters of Wisdom – our ‘Elder Brothers’. This process, which makes the energies more useful to humanity, is like that of electrical transformers that step down the power between generators and household outlets. These transformed spiritual energies, Creme explains, are gradually uplifting all life forms and changing our world for the better.

“What is unique about this work,” says Creme, “is its simplicity. It is a perfect vehicle for the aspirations of very busy people. It is safe, highly scientific, non-denominational, free of any charge, and unbelievably potent. It is a service in which we can involve ourselves for the rest of our lives and know that we are helping in the great transformation to a more just and compassionate world. At the same time I know of no other form of service which makes for such far reaching and fast spiritual growth.” (Emphasis added)

The best way to make spiritual growth and to pour your life out in service on behalf of others, according to Creme, is to participate in meditation that taps into the Masters of Wisdom’s spiritual energies and to have it transmitted (induced) onto your being through meditation.

Whereas Johan Geyser explained the marrying of the contemplative and active lifestyles in terms of Martha (the activist) and Mary (the contemplative) in Luke 10:38-42, Trevor Hudson did so in terms of the transfiguration of Jesus on the Mountain (Matthew 17:1-8 and 14) which he entitles “UP AND DOWN THE MOUNTAIN.” He kicked off with a little interaction between him and the audience using a lit lamp and a jug and a glass of water. He began by saying:

LampI wonder if we could just continue the conversation a bit. We’ve been using the language of the spiritual journey and I wonder what you think represents best this spiritual Pouring water into jugjourney. Do you think that the spiritual journey is best represented by the light of Christ transforming us? Or do you think the spiritual journey is best represented by pouring a cup of water for someone who is thirsty?

I wonder if we could just think about this carefully. Now, there’s no right answer. I just want you to relax but I want, I’m wondering, I’m wondering what you’re thinking. I’m wondering whether you think the spiritual journey is about this kind of inward transformation, the light of Christ filling our lives; we become the light of the world. [or] is the spiritual journey essentially about the pouring out of our life on behalf of others? . . I’m wondering how many of you really are drawn to this sense of interior transformation, becoming the light of the world? . . . How many of you feel that the spiritual journey is really about giving yourself, pouring your life out? . . .

Well, Trevor, bearing in mind the water (Living Water] is another name for the Holy Spirit, one would immediately stop wondering what is best and allow God to gush forth the Living Water from within your innermost being (by preaching the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ) so that lost sinners may be saved.

You cannot separate the light of Christ and the outflowing of the Living Water. The light is there to draw people to Christ  and the Living Water is there to quench and satisfy the life threatening drought of a person who knows not Christ as his Saviour.

We get a preliminary glimpse of Trevor Hudson’s contemplative mindset when he brings to our memory the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945. Very few people in the West seem to know that when the Western powers under the auspices of the Unites States of America decided to drop the bomb on Hiroshima, it was the very day when the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration. Trevor Hudson relayed this horrible event as follows.

I want to draw your attention to something which historians when they tell the story of Hiroshima, often forget to tell us, that that bomb was dropped on Hiroshima when the Eastern Church celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration and those of you who have been exposed to some of the treasures of our brother and sister Christ-followers from the East will know that the Feast of the Transfiguration is as important as the Festival of Christmas, the Festival of Easter, the Festival of Pentecost; that in the Eastern heart the Transfiguration is crucial.

And I’ve often thought about this tragic insensitivity in the hearts and minds of those who made that decision. . . . My homespun theory – I’ve got no empirical research for this – my homespun theory is that somehow those in the West who made this decision were simply unaware of the importance of the transfiguration; they were simply unaware. Its almost as if those of us in the West somehow, and we’ve been influenced I think by Western thinking, those of us who live in South Africa, somehow the events of the transfiguration flies below the radar. Huh?

Can anyone of you really remember a strong sermon on the transfiguration? Huh? . . . huh? We don’t know what to do with it. Its one of those events that kind of blows our category of thought. You know the West kind of emphasizes analysis, definition, rationality. [In] the East, by contrast, there is an emphasis on experience, on intuition, on maybe what sometimes gets called the mystical, and I think that’s why we sometimes lose the transfiguration in our thinking (Emphasis added).

Was Trevor Hudson suggesting that you need to enter into a mystical experience before you can understand the true meaning of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on the mountain, something similar to what Mary experienced when she sat at the feet of Jesus? It’s easy to find a connection between two apparent opposites when you put your mind to it and Trevor Hudson very skilfully found that connection when he married contemplative spirituality with the event of the transfiguration.

However, contrary to Johan Geyser’s plea that we should stop thinking, he made a heartfelt appeal to his audience to descend with their minds into their hearts and to intuitively enter into the event of the transfiguration, not only as a past event but also as a present reality – “the Bible happened, the Bible happens . . .” and then maybe we will see what the spiritual journey in the company of Jesus looks like, he explained.

Before I elaborate a bit more on Hudson’s contemplatively transfigured Transfiguration, it is imperative that we briefly look at his homespun theory again. Indeed, it is a homespun theory without any empirical backup because his conjecture: “that somehow those in the West who made this decision were simply unaware of the importance of the transfiguration.” is simply not true.

Was the Roman Catholic Church in the West simply unaware of the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki . . . or at least equally unaware as she was about Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate six million Jews? Vatican I’s statement that “While the state has some rights, she has them only in virtue and by permission of the the superior authority [of] the Church (The Catholic World , July 1870, Vol. xi, p. 439) is ample proof that governments rarely take decisions without the knowledge and the stamp of approval of the Roman Catholic Church.

Dave Hunt in his book “A Woman Rides the Beast” on page 57 and 59 writes:

The antipathy of Roman Catholicism to basic human freedoms later created unholy alliances with the totalitarian governments of Hitler and Mussolini, who were praised by the pope and other Church leaders as men chosen by God. Catholics were forbidden to oppose Mussolini and were urged to support him. . . .

Pope Pius XI told Vice-Chancellor Fritz von Papen, himself a leading Catholic, “how pleased he was that the German Government now had at its head a man uncompromisingly opposed to Communism.” (Franz von Papen, Memoirs, trans. Brian Connell, London 1952, p. 279). . . .

Most German Catholics were in a state of euphoria after the 1933 concordat between Hitler and the Vatican was signed. Catholic young men were ordered “to raise their right arm in salute, and to display the swastika flag . . .”

Any apparent difficulties to link the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of which the Catholic Cathedral was inadvertently “ground zero” for “fat man, soon vanish when we take into account that Harry S. Truman, a confirmed 33rd degree Mason, appointed many Roman Catholics to key positions in his government.

President Harry S. Truman was a minor ordinary Klansman from 1920 – 1922. His two year membership was not notable and somewhat lacking. He eventually had a major falling out with the KKK over his desire to appoint Roman Catholics to key political positions; something which all of the KKK opposed at the time.

Some Klans now not only accept Roman Catholics but actively recruit them. The true Ku Klux Klan is however traditionally and rightfully opposed to Roman Catholicism and Papists influence over America. President Harry S. Truman was currying favor with Roman Catholic voters and was more interested in his political career than the Klan for the good of America.

He severed all ties with the KKK and openly repudiated them. They didn’t call the arrogant upstart “give them Hell Harry,”, for nothing. His family has tired to deny his KKK membership ever since, but has failed miserably since it is a well established fact of documented history.

Despite these historical facts Trevor Hudson forcefully blames the dropping of the bomb on the Western world’s lack of awareness of the mystical significance of the Transfiguration. Is it perhaps because he needed to colour in the Transfiguration with a distinct contemplative palette. Others in the Roman Catholic fold have already tried to repaint the Transfiguration using a contemplative palette. Read here. It is interesting to note that the author of this article uses the very same words Johan Geyser used to describe the necessity to let go of the false self.

Listening asks of us intention, attention, and letting go of the things that deafen us. Anything that destroys or limits presence is a form of deafness. The following are just a few examples:

  • Holding on to the past – guilt, sins, regrets, disappointments, sorrow, and losses;
  • Perfectionism, self-doubt, and self-hatred;
  • Fear, anxiety, and the resulting need to control;
  • Competition, comparison, expectation and judgments;
  • Anger, resentment, and condemnation. (Emphasis added).

What does Trevor Hudson mean by “becoming the light of the world?”

Just a quick reminder what Trevor said.

I’m wondering how many of you really are drawn to this sense of interior transformation, becoming the light of the world? . . . How many of you feel that the spiritual journey is really about giving yourself, pouring your life out? . . .

The Bible never teaches that you “become” or “are becoming the light of the world.” The word “becoming” implies a gradual development into being the light which in turn implies that you must do something in order to become that light. Jesus said that His disciples ARE the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). They ARE the light the moment they receive Him (Who IS the essence of this light) as their personal Saviour. In the Barnes commentary the following explanation of the light is given:

The light of the world often denotes the sun, John 11:9. The sun renders objects visible, shows their form, their nature, their beauties, and deformities. The term light is often applied to religious teachers. See John 1:4 8:12 Isaiah 49:6. It is pre-eminently applied to Jesus in these places; because he is, in the moral world, what the sun is in the natural world. The apostles, and Christian ministers, and all Christians, are lights of the world, because they, by their instructions and examples, show what God requires, what is the condition of man, what is the way of duty, peace, and happiness – the way that leads to heaven (Emphasis added).

The main priority of Jesus being the Light of the world is to reprove mankind of its evil ways and to draw them to Himself so that they may see their evil deeds for what they really are.

John 3:18-21 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Christians are beacons of light that illuminate the way to heaven by their preaching of the unadulterated Word of God and their sanctified lives. Like John the Baptist they ought to point to Jesus Christ and declare “There is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”

John the Baptist never performed any miracles and neither did he pour himself out on behalf of others to alleviate their suffering, poverty and misery. And yet Jesus hailed him the greatest prophet born of women because he never compromised the Word of God for the sake of a unifying spiritual journey.

Also when Paul said that he was being poured out he was merely referring to his life that was nearing its end and not to a life of service to the poor and the destitute (2 Timothy 4:6). In the other instance where he mentions him being offered as a libation sacrifice, he did so on behalf of the faith of his brothers and sisters and not to ease their poverty and dire circumstances (Philippians 2:17). I’m not in the very least suggesting that they had no compassion for the poor and their suffering.

Throughout the Congress the speakers eulogized the need for experience, mysticism, intuition, thoughtlessness, silence, passive sitting, awareness while they downplayed rationalism, thinking, studying, understanding, i.e. everything that relates to man’s cognitive capacities.

It predictably leads to the assumption that the transformation (transfiguration) of an individual is not accomplished through the cognitive learning, understanding or knowledge of certain doctrines. Biblical exposes such as “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” are no longer tolerable in our post-modern enlightened society. Instead, the so-called “truth is passively received by means of a mystical induction or infusion when the mind moves beyond reason through deep contemplative and silent meditation.

You may recall that Johan Geyser said it is not acquired but induced by just sitting and being in a state of complete silence. Well of course, the expediency in this is that it eliminates disagreement, factions or divisions, conflicts and war because no one needs to defend the doctrines of a particular faith; we are all induced with a like-mindedness that has its origin in the same source – a generic god who is equally at home in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism etc. etc. etc.

You may also recall that in my previous articlwe I said “It is said that a guru is capable of transmitting his own state of being (love, compassion, empathy, intuition and aliveness) to the receptive pilgrims who sit with him at his feet.” In Buddhism this is called TO BECOME ENLIGHTENED.

You may ask: What has this all got to do with Trevor Hudson’s presentation? Well let usagain listen to him describing the spiritual journey.

When those guys are on the mountain they get a glimpse of who they can become, huh? They get a small glimpse of transformation, of change. Jesus is transfigured. Can I say this carefully. Jesus is not transfigured for his sake; I use to think transfiguration meant it was like proof of Jesus’ divinity.

If that is true then Moses was divine because Moses also shone, huh? If you want evidence for the divinity of Christ, we go to the cross, we go to the resurrection. Jesus is transfigured for the sake of the disciples.

Now they are able to see what a transfigured, transformed human being looks like. Now they’re able to see what a human being, open to God, really looks like; now they’re able to see what happens when the light begins to shine. They can see it; they get a glimpse of who they can become, huh?

Was Jesus’ transfiguration really for the sake of his disciples – to get a glimpse of what they can become? The disciples had a tremendous experience on the Mountain of Transfiguration. There is no doubt about that and it is quite evident that Trevor Hudson wanted to call our attention to his reasoning that it was their experience that triggered their own transformation or transfiguration.

Although it is often told that first-hand experience is the best tutor, it is often clouded in subjectivity. Peter greatly valued his own experience on the mountain but makes it abundantly clear that God’s Word is far more trustworthy and more necessary (2 Peter 1:19).

It therefore stands to reason  (and NOT to go beyond your own reason into a cloud of mysterious unknowing) that we need to look to God’s Word and the correct understanding thereof in order to undergo a correct transformation. What does the more trustworthy and more necessary Word of God say in regard to the purpose of the Transfiguration on the mountain?

One thing that was uppermost in the Jewish mind during Jesus’ sojourn on earth was the Kingdom. The disciples knew that the Kingdom was yet future, that Christ himself would restore it and that He would restore it to Israel and not the church.

When they asked Him: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” He did not deny that the Kingdom was promised to Israel in particular (Acts 1:6). When He told them just prior to his transfiguration on the Mountain that some of them would see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom (Matthew 16:28), He was of course referring to this awsome special event.

Consequently, the Transfiguration could not have been an occasion to give the disciples a glimpse of what they could become, but a glimpse of Christ Jesus’ coming Kingdom on earth. It was not the Kingdom itself but a preview of which they were the eye witnesses.

Furthermore, they were given a glimpse of the fact that the Kingdom cannot be established on earth without the personal and radiant presence of Jesus Christ Himsewlf. At the Last Supper He said that He would not eat of the Passover “until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” and that He would not drink “of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come” confirming that He must be personally present in his radiant resplendence before his Kingdom can be ushered in on earth. This is what the three disciples saw and it kind of blows away the Emergent Church’s pathetic socialized methods to usher in the Kingdom of God here and now.

From Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic (p.53) Leonard Sweet tells us:

“A surprisingly central feature of all the world’s religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammad’s light-filled cave, Moses’ burning bush, Paul’s blinding light, Fox’s “inner light,” Krishna’s Lord of Light, Boheme’s light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus’ fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini’s fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on.”

What is a genuine biblical spiritual journey?

How is the way (a term the contemplatives love to use) or the true path determined in the spiritual journey? Well, first of all, Jesus’ claim that He IS the Way (the only way to His Father) must be taken very seriously because if you don’t you’ve already taken a wrong turn onto another way or path that leads you along a spiritual journey that is completely at variance with God’s Way. In fact, it doesn’t lead to life but eternal death (Proverbs 14:12). Sadly, many emergent contemplatives have already opted for the wrong turn and the wrong way and yet still believe they are following Jesus Christ. Listen to what Rob Bell says:

Rob and Kristen Bell

Rob and Kristen Bell

In Yoga one of the central tenets of Yoga is that your breath needs to remain the same regardless of the pose. So whether you’re making the letter Q with your whatever . . . [laughter] . . . In Yoga one of the things you learn right away is not how difficult the pose is . . . . Its not how flexible you are; its not about whether you can do the poses; its not about how you can bend yourself; its can you keep your breath [Bell breathes in and out] consistent [Bell breathes in and out again] through whatever you’re doing?

And the Yoga masters say this is how it is when you follow Jesus and surrender to God [Bell breathes in and out again]. It’s your breath being consistent, it’s your connection with God, regardless of the pose that you find yourself in. That is integrating the Divine into the daily.

Rob Bell

Allow me to remind you, and it is on record, that Stephan Joubert with whom Trevor Hudson appeared on the same platform at the Mosaic Congress, once said that when Rob Bell opens his mouth it is the pure Gospel truth. The central tenet of contemplative spirituality (meditation, centering prayer, contemplative prayer, silence, sitting, Yoga) is to integrate (incarnate) the Divine into the daily, to follow Jesus and to surrender to God, and that’s called the Gospel truth? How is it possible that men and women who call themselves evangelical Christians can listen to such nonsense, that are clearly doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1), and hail them as the pure Gospel truth? The Bible supplies the answer:

2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 The coming [of the lawless one, the Antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels [all of them] lying wonders. And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, (Emphasis added).

The moment you shun God’s way of approaching Him in his holy of holies in heaven through the blood of His Son (Hebrews 10:19-23) and devise all kinds of other ways to enter into his presence (such as contemplative or centering prayer, silence, just sitting and even Yoga) you immediately become a candidate for demonic deception and God’s righteous judgments. The most devastating thing about deception is that every person who follows after false apostles shall receive the very same punishment as they. (Revelation 2:20-23).

I’m sure the contemplatives will agree that our spiritual journey is inexorably linked to a particular mission and to really know what that mission is, we once again need to cast our eyes on the True Way (the Only Way), Jesus Christ. A person with a particular mission is one who has been sent by someone else to accomplish his (the sender’s and not the ambassador’s own) goals.

When we understand this by putting on our thinking caps and not by sinking deep down into a muddle of thoughtlessness, it is not so difficult to understand why Jesus said: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” and also “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”

Ah, now we’ve reached the crux of the meaning of mission and spiritual journey. Both are determined and sustained by God’s spoken word, Jesus’ spoken Word that is in complete harmony with his Father’s spoken Word and the spoken Word of Jesus’ followers which in turn is in complete harmony with Jesus’ spoken Word. Once again, if we put on our thinking caps without having to sink down still deeper into the labyrinths of contemplative thoughtlessness, we will understand why Jesus said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Jesus’ spiritual journey, if you like, was not to make the world a better place; his mission was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10) and to bring a sword of division (Luke 12:51). And yet, the emergent contemplatives have opted for a social Gospel which emphasizes service instead of the salvation of lost souls.

Addendum

Like most of the festivals celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches the Feast of the Transfiguration had its origin in paganism. When the horrific persecution of Christians was terminated by Emperor Constantine the church entered upon an apostasy which led to the Roman Catholic Church and has lasted until the present time. [2] Will Durant, a purely secular historian with no religious axe to grind, comments upon the marriage of Christianity and paganism that came through Constantine’s pretended “conversion” and assumption of church leadership. [3]

Paganism survived . . . in the form of ancient rites and customs condoned, or accepted and transformed, by an often indulgent Church. An intimate and trustful worship of saints replaced the cult of pagan gods . . . Statues of Isis and Horus were renamed Mary and Jesus; the Roman Lupercalia and the feast of purification of Isis became the Feast of Nativity; the Saturnalia were replaced by Christmas celebration . . . an ancient festival of the dead by All Souls Day, rededicated to Christian heroes; incense, lights, flowers, processions, vestments, hymns which had pleased the people in older cults were domesticated and cleansed in the ritual of the Church . . . soon people and the priests would use the sign of the cross as a magic incantation to expel or drive away demons . . . [Paganism] passed like maternal blood into the new religion, and captive Rome captured her conqueror. . . . the world converted Christianity . . . [4]

The Catholic Encyclopaedia describes the origin of the Feast of Transfiguration as follows:

The Armenian bishop Gregory Arsharuni (about 690) ascribes the origin of this feast to St. Gregory the Illuminator (d. 337?), who, he says, substituted it for a pagan feast of Aphrodite called Vartavarh (roseflame), retaining the old appellation of the feast, because Christ opened His glory like a rose on Mount Thabor. It is not found however in the two ancient Armenian calendars printed by Conybeare (Armenian Ritual, 527 sq.). It probably originated, in the fourth or fifth century, in place of some pagan nature-feast, somewhere in the highlands of Asia.

It can only be a false Christ who would want to be associated with a pagan festival because the Christ of the Bible said:

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?

Click:  Part 1Part 2, Part 4 and Part 5


 

[1] Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Psychotherapy (Doubleday, 1978), 27-28.

[2] Dave Hunt: A Woman Rides the Beast, p. 203

[3] Ibid

[4] Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, , Vol. IV, p. 75; Vol. III, p. 657 as quoted in ” A Woman Rides the Beast,” p. 203 and 204 Dave Hunt.

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Emergent Mysticism - Part 3

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