Good afternoon. Good afternoon. I hope everyone is doing well today. And let me just – I know it’s customary for a speaker to do this – but let me just express my sincere, sincere appreciation to all of you to Answers in Genesis and to John MacArthur, Grace Community Church, and Grace to You. The fruit that is being borne by God’s grace from these ministries is truly beyond what words can express and beyond what any of us will ever know this side of heaven. So, I’m very grateful to be here. Okay.
Well, I have been assigned a topic today, and that topic is “Mysticism.” “Christian Mysticism.” Now that is a very, very broad topic, and I can’t even say that this next hour or so will be a bird’s eye view of mysticism. It’s not even going to be a 35,000-foot view of mysticism. It’s going to be more like Colonel Jeff Williams’ International Space Station orbital view of mysticism because it is such a very broad topic. But we’re going to look at it: “The Deadly Dangers of Trusting Personal Experience over Biblical Authority.” “The Deadly Dangers of Trusting Personal Experience over Biblical Authority.”
Mysticism, broadly defined, is “the belief that” – now watch the phrases that I have here highlighted – “the belief that union with deity, or ultimate reality, may be attained through contemplation and subjective experience; and the knowledge of the divine is inaccessible through/via human intellect.” In other words, if you want to get in touch with the divine, if you want to get in touch with God or whatever you call ultimate reality, then you do that through your subjective personal experience, and you’ve got to disengage your mind; put your brain, put the intellect in park. That is Christian mysticism.
Now I’m going to explore this in three different ways. We’re going to look at mysticism as it relates to the charismatic movement; also, rather surprisingly maybe, as it relates to the social justice movement; and then we’re going to look at little gods theology. So, union with deity through subjective experience; but to get this, you must disengage your mind. The human intellect is of no value. So, let’s look at these three things: charismatic movement, social justice, and then the little gods theology, in turn.
We will begin with the charismatic movement, charismatic movement. There in the bottom left corner you see a picture of fire. That is actual strange fire that I took a picture of. So, we’re going to look at this.
So, one of the underpinnings of the charismatic movement is that the human mind, the intellect, logical thought is of no value when it comes to God. So, if you really want to go deep with God, if you want to get to the deep, secret, hidden things of God, if you want to bring yourself into union with deity, then you’ve got to disengage your mind, put the noodle in park. And it underpins the entire charismatic movement. For those of you who may have come out of it, been saved out of that, then you know that this is true. The intellect is viewed as the enemy of your relationship with God.
As just one brief example – watch this – from Joyce Meyer.
[Start of Video with Joyce Meyer]
JOYCE: Stop trying to get hold of God with your head. It’s a heart thing. You’ve got to see what’s in your heart. As soon as you get into reasoning, you’re going to have trouble believing.
[End of Video with Joyce Meyer]
Joyce Meyer tells us we’ve got to see what’s in our heart. Well, the Bible tells us what is in our hearts, does it not? Jeremiah says, “The heart is more deceitful than everything else and it is desperately sick, desperately wicked; who can even know it.” Proverbs 28:26, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” So, if you trust in your own heart that is the quickest way to becoming a fool. Our hearts are wicked. They are deceitful; they will deceive us. So, if you want to get in touch with God, and how to do that, then your heart would be the last place I would recommend you to look or to seek any kind of resources.
And she says you’ve got to disengage your mind; you’ve got to disengage your head; you can’t do it through the intellect. Well, is that what the Bible says? No. “‘Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” God gave us a mind for a reason, He wants us to use it. Philippians chapter 1, verse 9, Paul says, “And this I pray, that your love would abound still more and more in full knowledge and all discernment.”
It is a tragedy that the vast majority of professing Christians – and please do note my use of the term “professing Christians” – have come to the place where they believe that doctrine and theology are almost like bad words: “Well, I don’t need doctrine, I don’t need theology; I just love Jesus.” What’s important is not your knowledge of God, but your love for God; that’s what’s really important. The Bible never separates knowledge of God and love for God; it always combines these things. And it is sound doctrine, it is right theology that deepens our knowledge of God; and when our knowledge of God is deepened, then that enables our love for God to be deepened.
The disengaged mind is the enemy of the Christian. The disengaged mind is the enemy of the Christian. It is the friend of the false teacher, because the more your mind is disengaged, the easier it is to lead you astray, the easier it is to get you to believe the wild, outlandish claims that they make, and the easier it is to get you to give them your money.
Now I’ve got an example here of the disengaged mind. Now this is going to be a little bit comical. I might have a little bit of editing in here to make this even more humorous. But I want to show you a videoclip from a lady named Kat Kerr, “the Kat Kerr,” she calls herself; and you’ll notice immediately that she has pink hair. Her pink hair is not just by fashion preference, she claims that Jesus told her to have pink hair. Kat Kerr is a woman who goes to heaven not just daily, but multiple times per day, and on one of these excursions you’ll see that Jesus told her about a place in heaven called Christmas Town and Jello Land. Watch this.
[Start of Video with Kat Karr]
KAT: And one of the places I was taken to is a place in heaven where it snows all the time. The snow is alive. Everything in heaven has life: the plants sing, the plants talk, the birds, the creatures; even the buildings shout out; the ground shouts out all the time and worships Jesus Christ. They have a place called the Friendly Forest.
[Excerpt from Wizard of Oz]
DOROTHY: Oh, apples! Oh, look!
KAT: We can go and have conversations with trees, with the rocks.
TREE 1: What do you think you’re doing?
DOROTHY: We’ve been walking a long way, and I was hungry. Did you say something?
TREE 1: She was hungry.
TREE 2: She was hungry.
[End of Wizard of Oz]
KAT: With the creatures, there’s so much life there you can’t escape it. So, I hope that makes you understand.
In Christmas Town when you go there, that is where Nicholas lives; yes, Nick. Some people call him St. Nick, some people call him Santa, call him whatever. His actual name is Nicholas. But I do want to say this. He lives there, he loves the snow. It snowed where he lived on earth, and so God created this beautiful place. When you make a snowman in Christmas Town, in heaven, it is alive.
[Excerpt from Frosty the Snowman]
Trees in Christmas Town and all the lights on the trees are baby stars like that he plucked out of the sky, put them on the trees, and they all sing worship music to Jesus, but they also sing Christmas songs.
I want you to know Nicholas himself loves Jesus Christ. And that’s why, therefore the shirt; you know, here’s the shirt right here with Santa in heaven doing selfies with Jesus.
KELSIE: And then Michael is age eight, this is my son, and I asked him to ask you a question, and he said, “Can I have a house made out of candy?”
KAT: You know everybody – every child wants their house made out of candy. And the best part is we can eat it, and it comes right back, because it’s heaven. There’s a whole place called Jello Land in heaven – it really does exist.
[Excerpt of Jello commercial]
In part of that land, of course, there’s houses made out of candy, they’re made out of all kinds of things. I know there’s chocolate waterfalls; probably would be a part of that mansion made out of candy. You can just go jump off the waterfall and drink the chocolate, or swim in the chocolate.
[Excerpt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory]
And in the Jello Land part of it people will reach out and they’ll take, you know, a bite of the house or take a handful of the house, eat it, and then it comes right back. You can bounce in the Jello Land houses also. But the candy house I think is a great idea; it makes me think of that game Candy Land. So let me tell you, I will say this: Jesus Christ does have a soft part in His heart for sweets.
[End of Video with Kat Karr]
You can see how having a disengaged mind is very advantageous for false teachers; and that is obviously ludicrous. But these people have massive followings – massive, massive followings.
I want to show you another clip. This is from a man named Kevin Zadai. He’s a regular guest on Sid Roth’s program. Sid Roth has a program on TBN and Daystar entitled “It’s Supernatural.” And Sid Roth has some of the absolute looniest guests that you could possibly imagine on his program, and yet Sid Roth is a good, close, personal friend of Dr. Michael Brown. Dr. Michael brown is a vociferous defender of Sid Roth and very close personal friends with him, has been for over forty years - Dr. Michael Brown - or right at forty years. Dr. Michael Brown was a vocal critic of the Strange Fire Conference back in 2013. But watch this videoclip from Kevin Zadai on Sid Roth’s program, “It's Supernatural.”
[Start of video with Kevin Zadai]
SID: You were telling me about you have seen since you’ve been back here on earth. It’s almost at times you can see what’s going on in the invisible realm. You saw something in New Orleans. Tell me about that.
KEVIN: Yes. I wonder why the Lord had sent me and my wife to New Orleans, because it’s such a hard city in many ways. And so He told me, He said, “Because I trust you.”
Jesus told Kevin Zadai, “I trust you.” “I trust you.” I thought we were supposed to trust Jesus. But no; apparently Jesus trusts us. You see, the error sometimes is subtle, but it is devastating error, it’s gospel-denying error.
John 2:24, “Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He had no need that anyone bear witness concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” Jesus does not trust us; we are to trust Him. This is gospel-denying teaching.
Now watch this from Kevin Zadai, same program, as Kevin Zadai talks about how one night Jesus made an appearance in his bedroom doing something rather unusual. Watch this.
SID: And then He visits you and taught you how to play – but what kind of sax did He have?
KEVIN: It was interesting, because there are several types of sax. This one has a surprise.
SID: I think in terms of a sax that’s kind of curved.
KEVIN: Yes, and I have all of them. But this particular one He had was a soprano sax. It was a beautiful gold saxophone. And I was sleeping at the time, and I heard something. So, when I woke up, He was standing there, and He had this sax in His hands playing over me, you know, because He sings songs of deliverance over us.
[End of video with Kevin Zadai]
That’s not Jesus, that’s Kenny G. Lunacy, right? And yet, lest you think that this is the extreme fringe of the charismatic movement; no, dear friends, this is not the fringe of the charismatic movement, this is the mainstream of the charismatic movement. The fringe of the charismatic movement would be men like Sam Storms and Wayne Grudem; they’re the fringe. Those are men who would agree with us soteriologically, “be in unity with the gospel,” but they do believe in the continuance of the charismatic, the apostolic, the sign gifts. Those kinds of men are the fringe.
The mainstream of the charismatic movement is this kind of stuff. When you turn on TBN, when you turn on Daystar, who do you see? You see, all Christian television is a function of supply and demand, that’s all it is; whatever the demand is, that’s what they’re going to supply. And so, when you turn on TBN, Daystar, and these other Christian networks, who do you see? You don’t see John MacArthur. You don’t see Steve Lawson. You don’t see Mike Riccardi. You don’t see Owen Strachan. You don’t see any of the speakers here, Darrell Harrison or Phil Johnson. You don’t see any expositors. This is what you see. Why? Because that’s what the demand is.
Now this is just an interesting observation. I went to the YouTube channels of Grace to You and Sid Roth’s YouTube channel – this was just a couple of days ago – and I looked at the numbers. Grace to You’s YouTube channel has 615,000 subscribers. Pretty robust, 135 million views. Compare that to Sid Roth: 1.5 million subscribers – over twice the number of subscribers that Grace to You has – 253 million views. But here’s what I found really interesting. Looking at the growth of these respective channels, Grace to You right now is apparently having 200 daily subscribers – 200 new people subscribe to the YouTube channel, Grace to You, every single day; that’s good. Sid Roth’s: 1,400 daily subscribers. Sid Roth’s program, as wacky as it is, is growing at seven times the rate that Grace to You. Whatever the demand is, that’s what will be supplied. We are in the day and age in which “people will no longer endure sound doctrine, but will heap to themselves teachers who tickle the ears.”
I want us to look real quickly at “heaven tourism.” I believe it was Phil Johnson that first coined that term “heaven tourism.” Lots of people claim to go to heaven nowadays. Going to heaven is big business. People go to heaven, and they write books, make movies about their trips to heaven. Here in the top left that’s Rick Joyner – kind of going clockwise – Rick Joyner, Ana Werner, Colton Burpo (that’s the kid that wrote the book Heaven is for Real), Paula White. Down the bottom right that is Don Piper (Don Piper wrote the book 90 Minutes in Heaven), Jesse Duplantis, Bill Wiese (he went to hell, not heaven), then Kevin Zadai. And the lady in the middle, that’s Mary Baxter. Mary Baxter claims to have been to both places; she’s been to heaven and to hell. She said she spent ten days in heaven, thirty days in hell, so I guess you kind of got the shorter end of that stick. But there’s lots of people that claim to go to heaven nowadays.
But I want to just kind of put all of this to a rest through one passage of Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. The apostle Paul writes, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body, I do not know, or out of the body, I do not know, God knows – such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words, which man is not permitted to speak.”
The apostle Paul was speaking of himself. And you may be wondering, “Why does he refer to himself in the third person? Why does he do that?” He does that because that is how humbled he was by what he had experienced. He was referring to himself. Paul didn’t even want to talk about this, but his apostolic authority was being questioned by some false teachers and false apostles back in Corinth; and you kind of get the sense that Paul had just finally had enough, his patience had just about come to its end, and he said, “Okay, you question whether or not I’m an apostle. You question my authority. I know a man. I know a man.”
And what do we know about what the apostle Paul saw and heard while he was in heaven? No idea. We have no idea what he saw; we have no idea what he heard. Why? Because it says that “he heard words that are inexpressible that man is not permitted to speak.”
Dear friends, this is the apostle Paul; and if Paul was not permitted to tell us what he saw or what he heard in heaven, don’t believe it when anybody else tells you that they’ve been to heaven and they want to tell you all about their trip to heaven, everything they saw, everything they heard while they were in heaven. And then they make careers; they go on speaking tours talking about their trips to heaven. They make millions of dollars selling their books and their videos. Made a career out of their trips to heaven. Anytime somebody tells you they’ve been to heaven, do not believe it. This is mysticism. This is trying to get in touch with the divine, with deity through subjective experience and disengaging the mind, disengaging the mind.
I want to show you another huge, huge example of mysticism: Jesus Calling; Jesus Calling by Sarah Young; the hottest-selling devotional book on the market today. Nothing else is even close. It has sold tens of millions of copies.
Now the inspiration for Jesus Calling came from this book, a book entitled God Calling. God Calling was a book written back in the 1930s by two anonymous female mystics. We don’t even know their names, but two female mystics who said that they practiced waiting in the presence of God, pencils and papers in hand, and it’s like once they tuned in to just the right frequency, then God began to call them, and they wrote down what God was saying. This was the inspiration for Sarah Young to write Jesus Calling.
Sarah Young says in her introduction, she says, “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.” You see, the Bible was just not enough for Sarah Young. It’s not that she denies that the Bible is the Word of God; she doesn’t outright deny it. Nobody in the evangelical world will do that, at least not directly. But the Bible was not enough, it wasn’t enough: “I’ve got to have something more.” And that is where the vast majority of professing Christians are today: “Well, I’ve got to have something more. I’ve got to have a dream, I’ve got to have a vision, I’ve got to have an experience, I’ve got to get Holy Ghost goosebumps, and I’ve got to feel something.” The Bible’s not enough.
Here’s my question to anyone who would say, “The Bible is not enough for me.” “Have you completely mastered this book from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21? You have mastered it all, you have squeezed every drop of truth there is to be squeezed from these pages.” If the answer to that question is no – and it is – because, dear friends, every person in this room, we could spend a thousand lifetimes studying this book, combine our knowledge, and we would barely scratch the surface of what’s in this book. So please don’t tell me the Bible’s not enough, when you have just not even scratched the surface of what you have in black and white right in front of you.
But for charismatics, experience is king. “Well, I know tongues is real, because I have experienced speaking in tongues. I know I get dreams and visions because I’ve experienced these things. I know being slain in the Spirit is real because I’ve experienced these things.” I want to look at that just a little bit. Listen to this. This is just an audio clip. But listen to this audio clip of someone speaking in tongues, and then we’ll talk about it.
[Start of audio]
TERANCE: [Speaking gibberish]
[End of audio]
Okay, so that was an example of someone speaking in tongues. And you would, of course, assume that that is some charismatic, right? No. That’s a guy named Terence McKenna. Terence McKenna was an ethnobotanist. I’ve never heard of that term until I did a little research on this guy. But an ethnobotanist. He wrote on “the theoretical origins of human consciousness and rave culture,” and he – this is funny – he was an expert on metaphysics, shamanism, and psychedelic drugs. An expert on psychedelic drugs. It fits; it fits.
Speaking in tongues is not unique to Christianity. Pagans do it, too. Hindus speak in tongues. Buddhists speak in tongues. A lot of Roman Catholics speak in tongues. Even some Muslims, if you can believe it or not, speak in tongues. Pagans do it too, and they do it in the exact same way that charismatics do, exactly the same way. In fact, you can take videoclips – and I’m about to show you some – of people in Hindu Kundalini, and put them side-by-side videoclips of charismatics, and you literally cannot tell the difference; they look exactly alike. So, watch this clip. And this clip, it’s going to begin with a graphic that says “Christian” in quotation marks. That’s to let you know that what you’re about to see is supposedly Christian, and then you’re going to see, it’ll move to cultic, and what follows the graphic “cultic” is Hindu Kundalini, okay? And watch this for comparison.
[Start of video]
MALE 1: What happened to you?
MALE 2: I was sitting here. Oh!
[Laugher and gibberish and music from 0:25:33 to 0:26:32]
[End of video]
You can’t tell the difference. What is being portrayed as Christian looks exactly and is identical to cultic practice; Hindu Kundalini, they look exactly alike. “Oh, well I know these things are real, because I’ve experienced them.” Hindus have experienced the same things that you have.
Dear friends, no matter how real an experience may seem to us, if that experience does not plumb with God’s Word, then we have done exactly what Paul said not to do in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 6. Paul says, “Do not exceed what is written.” Do not exceed biblical parameters. When we exceed what is written, we are opening ourselves up to demonic influence and demonic suggestion. No matter how real an experience may seem to us, if that experience does not plumb with God’s Word, then we must reject it. We cannot interpret the Bible by what we experience. We must interpret our experiences by the Bible. And interpreting the Bible by our experiences is mysticism. It is a disengagement of the rational mind, and that is something that is condemned by Scripture, condemned by Scripture.
The charismatic movement is rife with spectacular claims about God doing amazing signs and wonders through their various faith healers. One of whom is Todd White. Todd White is one of the rock stars within the charismatic movement. Todd White is known for lengthening people’s legs. He goes out on the streets, and he takes his cameraman with him, and he goes up to people at random. And apparently, the real pandemic out there – forget about COVID – apparently, the real pandemic is that almost everybody out there is walking around with one leg that’s just about that much shorter than the other one. And so he has them sit down on a chair or on a bench or something, and he’ll get down in front of him, kneel down, and he’ll put one foot in each hand – he’ll have the person’s legs straight out – one foot in each hand, and he compares the legs; and sure enough, one leg is just about that much shorter than the other one, and he commands the leg to grow, and you can see the leg grow right there on television. It’s amazing. Watch this.
[Start of video with Todd White]
TODD: You’re one leg’s shorter than the other one? That throws you back? Okay. So regardless of like – well yeah, no matter what. So, what I’ll do, regardless of what you believe, I’m going to pray for you, and Jesus is going to grow your leg out and heal you back. You don’t even have to believe, dude. So, you get into the weirdest place of unbelief that you want, you could unbelieve as much as you want, and God’s going to grow your leg out and heal your back. I promise, man; you grow right now.
Okay, I want to pause it. Did you notice how he said, “You can get in the weirdest place of unbelief that you want”? He said, “It doesn’t matter what you believe.” Do you know why he can say that with such confidence? Because he knows full well that what he’s about to do is a trick, okay. But watch. Let’s watch the magic happen.
TODD: Jesus’ name.
MALE 1: Look at that. See it?
MALE 2: Whoa.
MALE 1: Look at that. You guys see that right there?
MALE 2: Yes.
MALE 1: It’s longer now than the other one.
MALE 2: That’s nuts.
TODD: So Father, I thank You for a brand new back, God. I thank You that it’s not about religion, it’s about Jesus.
Did you hear the guy in the background? He said, “Look, now it’s longer than the other one.” So, I guess God just overshot it a little bit. So now the long leg that was the short leg, it’s now the long leg; so now he’s going to have to command the other leg to grow, which was the long one, now the short one. No, if God keeps overshooting this thing, this guy’s going to be twelve feet long tall before….
But let’s be fair to Todd White, shall we? I want to show you: this is before, and this is after. So, you can see the foot on our right (the man’s left) was the short leg. But now, look, they’re the same length. So apparently the leg did grow. Wow. How’d he do that? This is how he did it.
MALE: Now we’re going to see Todd White’s clip sped up quite a bit and looped back and forth. Now this is where we can see what’s really going on here. The leg on our right is supposed to be the short leg, and this is the leg which should be miraculously growing; but it’s not. Look at the leg on our left; that’s where all the action is; that’s what’s actually being manipulated. You can see that Todd is actually pivoting, or shifting, the foot of the so-called long leg so that the heels match. Now he’s doing this very slowly over time, but it’s painfully obvious when you speed up the clip.
[End of video with Todd White]
This is a trick; it’s a parlor trick. Charlatans have been doing this for decades, for many decades; it’s just that Todd White has made it popular with the advent of YouTube. It’s a parlor trick. If Todd White can really command a leg to grow, then surely he could command cancer cells to die.
So, you know the first place that Todd White ought to be going? Not out on the streets lengthening people’s legs. The first place he ought to be going is to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. That’s where he ought to be going, and heal those sick kids; some of them dying of cancer. But Todd White, he won’t be caught anywhere near St. Jude, because he’s a fraud, he’s a charlatan, he knows full well what he’s doing. It’s endorsed by Dr. Michael Brown though.
Lengthening people’s legs, parlor tricks, things like that. Dear friends, what you see today in the modern charismatic movement, this mystical, faith-healing movement; bears absolutely no resemblance to the miracles that we see recorded in Scripture, none at all. In fact, I came across this as a rather humorous little graphic picture. Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. Bears no resemblance. In fact, what do we see in the New Testament with the apostolic miracles, signs, and wonders? We see signs and wonders being done at the hands of the apostles – not Christians in general, by the way – but at the hands of the apostles; and these signs and wonders were undeniable. They were undeniable, even to their enemies – to the enemies of Jesus and to the enemies of the apostles.
In John chapter 5, this is at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus healed the one who had been lame from his mother’s womb; and for this reason, the Jews were persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. You see, the Jews were persecuting Jesus. Why? Because they knew that He was performing legitimate miracles. Even His enemies recognized this.
Acts chapter 4, “In seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they began to confer with one another, saying, ‘What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy sign has happened through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.’” The enemies of the apostles could not deny that they were doing legitimate miracles, signs and wonders - could not deny them.
Can I deny that Todd White is healing people, lengthening their legs? Oh yeah, easily. Could not deny legitimate signs and wonders. “The signs of a true apostle were worked out among you with all perseverance by signs and wonders and miracles.” Sign of a true apostle is one who is a first-person eyewitness of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, someone who had been appointed by Christ to be an apostle, and someone who had the ability to perform the signs and wonders of an apostle. And to be an apostle, you had to meet all three of those requirements. Dear friends, there is no one alive anywhere on the planet today who meets even one of those requirements, much less all three of them.
Now let’s turn a corner, and let’s look at “Christian mysticism in social justice.” Social justice might seem an odd arena to discuss when the subject matter at hand is mysticism. But I would suggest to you that it is very much at home in the mystical arena, because evangelicals who have been tossed to and fro carried about by the winds of social justice must take a mystical view of Scripture to accommodate for the tenets of this wicked worldly system known as social justice and critical race theory. There is no reasonable hermeneutical grid that you can apply to the Word of God and come out with the tenets of social justice. You have got to jump the shark, if you will, you’ve got to jump the rails of accepted hermeneutical principles to accommodate for social justice; but they do it. And it has wreaked havoc in the evangelical world.
This is a man named Dr. Eric Mason. Eric Mason is a pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s written a book entitled Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice. Now I want to show you a videoclip of a sermon that Dr. Eric Mason preached. In fact, this sermon’s already been mentioned this morning by Dr. Owen Strachan in his presentation. Excellent presentation on reparations, by the way. But what you heard Dr. Owen Strachan quote this morning comes from this very sermon. Watch this as Eric Mason talks about Zacchaeus.
[Start of video with Eric Mason]
ERIC: We’re diving into a particular piece today. We’re diving into reparations. We’ll talk about that in a second as we read the text. We’re going through Luke chapter 19, verses 1-10. I want to talk to you today from this text. I want to tag it, “A Biblical Case for Reparations.” “A Biblical Case for Reparations.” Let’s go before the Lord. Lord, shower Your grace and blessings on us, Lord God, as we dive into this text.
[End of video with Eric Mason]
Okay. He asked God to shower down His blessings. God is not going to do it, because Luke chapter 19 has absolutely nothing to do with reparations. Zacchaeus, that story of Zacchaeus, has absolutely nothing to do with reparations. Luke chapter 19, verse 8, “Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, half my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have extorted anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”
Dr. Eric Mason and the social justicians in the evangelical world today would have us believe that that is talking about reparations. It is not on any level in any conceivable way talking about reparations. Jesus confronted Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was convicted of his sin of extorting people, robbing people; and when God granted to Zacchaeus genuine repentance, that genuine repentance expresses itself in real fruit.
Therefore, bear fruit in keeping with repentance; that’s what’s going on here. Zacchaeus himself directly had robbed people, and as an expression of his repentance that God had granted to him, when God granted repentance, his mind was changed, yes. But his heart was changed, everything about him has changed. His affections are changed, his desires are changed, and he bore fruit in keeping with repentance. This has absolutely nothing to do with reparations. And to come to some interpretation, some interpretation as bizarre as that from a text that is really a beautiful, beautiful picture of repentance, is to delve into mysticism, because no legitimate interpretation of Scripture would ever lead you to a place like reparations from Luke 19, not at all.
Now I want to, I want to be careful here because I want to show you a clip from a man who is not at all a false teacher. But I’ll show you this just to give you an example of how pernicious the tenets of social justice are, and how it is infiltrating even some of our doctrinally sound, soteriologically Reformed circles.
So, I want to show you a clip from Ligon Duncan. And Ligon Duncan is not – again, he is not a false teacher, but sadly he has to varying degrees, I suppose, compared to others. But he has been blown about, to some extent, by the winds of social justice. So watch this. He wrote the foreword, by the way, to Eric Mason’s book Woke Church. But watch this clip from Ligon Duncan, and we’ll talk about how sad this is really. Watch.
[Start of video with Ligon Duncan]
LIGON: Can you imagine the gospel impact if Bible-believing Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians had said of their Bible-believing Christian brothers and sisters in Baptist churches and elsewhere, “You’re not going to kill our brothers and sisters in Christ. You’re not going to defraud our brothers and sisters in Christ. You’re not going to wrongfully imprison our brothers and sisters in Christ. You’re not going to mistreat our brothers and sisters.” Can you imagine the gospel impact of that? And, you know, it’s going to take us a hundred years to overcome the trust issues that have come out of that.
It’s going to take us a hundred years to come out of the trust issues? You see, as Darrell Harrison was saying yesterday, “The end game of the social justice movement is that there really is no end game. The end game for them is money,” BLM, and all this kind of stuff. They’re getting millions upon millions of dollars from corporate America to fund their grievances. But there is no forgiveness in the social justice movement, there is no forgiveness there. It is an endless cycle of victimhood. And there is no better way to inoculate someone against his or her understanding of his need for the gospel than if you can convince that that person, that he or she is a victim. If you see yourself as a victim, you will never come to Christ.
Dear friends, we are not victims – you’re not a victim, I’m not a victim. We are, we are rebels. We are rebels against a thrice holy God. If you see yourself as a victim, you will never come to Christ for forgiveness of your sins. Watch this.
LIGON: You know, I tell people my very best black friends have trouble trusting me for really good reasons, because people like me have been doing awful things to them and to their families for four centuries.
[End of video Ligon Duncan]
That is such a disheartening thing to hear. And again, we would affirm, we agree with Ligon Duncan on the vast majority of theological points on soteriology - we would agree with him. But you see how pernicious social justice is. And this is one of the things that alarms me so much about social justice. I am obviously very concerned about the charismatic abuses, Word-Faith, and all that stuff. But in our circles we’ve never – we have people in our pews, to one degree or another, who are listening to a Joyce Meyer or a Joel Osteen or a Kenneth Copeland - we have that. But what we’ve never had in our circles, we’ve never had any prominent preachers actually preaching Word-Faith theology, charismatic stuff. You know, it’s sprinkled about in our pews, to be sure, but we’ve never had any of the well-known preachers preaching it. With social justice we do, we do.
And for Ligon Duncan to say that his black friends have trouble trusting him, and rightly so, that is a horrible thing to say. I have a hard time believing that that’s true. But if it is true that his black friends have trouble trusting him because he’s white, then I would submit to Dr. Duncan that he needs to go to his black friends and tell them to repent, because they have no reason not to trust him. You see, the social justice movement is building up walls between the ethnicities – not racist – but it is building up walls that Christ and His cross have long ago broken down.
One of the, one of the great joys that has been mine as an evangelist. By God’s grace, I have been all over the world, and I’ve preached the gospel in I think twenty-eight different countries now. I’ve been on every continent, except Antarctica – no immediate plans to go preach to the penguins. But I’ve been all over the world. And do you know what, dear friends? It has been a joy that I cannot put into words. When I go to different countries all around the world – and it does not matter what country I’m in, it does not matter what culture I’m in, it does not matter how much they have or how little they have, it does not matter what language is spoken – when I am with like-minded believers in Christ, there is an instant bond there, there is an instant fellowship, there is an instant love there. I love these people, and they love me. Why? Because we’re family, we’re family.
And you know what else doesn’t matter? It doesn’t matter the level of melanin that we have in our skin. There’s an instant love because they’re my family. We have been adopted into the family of God through the merits of Christ Jesus, and none of these other things matter. All that has been done away with; it’s been broken down. And yet social justice movement is trying to build those barriers back up.
Watch this from J. D. Greear and Ed Litton. J. D. Greear, this is a sermon that he preached in 2019. Ed Litton preached word-for-word the exact same sermon one year later. They’re talking about homosexuality. Watch what they say.
[Start of video with J. D. Greear and Ed Litton]
J. D.: Assuming it’s hard for LGBTQ people to get to heaven.
ED: We did go wrong thinking LGBT people can’t go to heaven.
J. D.: Homosexuality does not send you to hell. You know how I know that? Because heterosexuality does not send you to heaven.
ED: Homosexuality does not send people to hell. How do I know that? Because heterosexuality doesn’t send people to heaven.
[End of video with L. D. Greear and Ed Litton]
Aside from the obvious plagiarism, aside from that, what a profoundly unbiblical thing to say: “Homosexuality does not send you to hell. How do I know that? Heterosexuality does not send you to heaven.” That is a stunningly unbiblical thing to say. And I put myself in the shoes, I try to put myself in the shoes of Ed Litton. He’s obviously plagiarizing the sermon, but you would think he at least has to look over the sermon Saturday night before he gets up and reads it Sunday morning.
So, I’m putting myself in the shoes of Ed Litton on a Saturday night; I’m looking through this manuscript that I’ve lifted from J. D. Greear, and I get to that line: “Homosexuality does not send you to hell. How do I know that? Heterosexuality does not send you to heaven.” How do you not stop and you think, “Is that right? I’m not sure that’s right.” You would have to have a theological IQ below freezing to not understand how profoundly unbiblical a statement like that is. And these men are pastors. They are the former and current president of the SBC.
Homosexuality absolutely will send you to hell, 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 9, 10 and 11. It absolutely will send you to hell. It’s not the only thing that will send you to hell, but it will send you to hell. But you know what? There is also forgiveness. Paul says, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor drunkards, nor revilers, or swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.” You were those things, but you’re not now. You are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified. There is forgiveness, but it will send you to hell.
You see, what people need to understand about the social justice movement, you can think of it as a train – and I’m not the one who first came up with this analogy. But when the engine of the social justice movement, when that engine comes into your church, it’s bringing along boxcars with it; and all of these boxcars are hooked together. Once that engine comes in, the boxcars are coming in it: racial boxcars, building up those walls that Christ has broken down; economic boxcars, reparations that we heard about this morning; egalitarian boxcar, that women can preach and pastor just like men do, that’s another car on the social justice train; the homosexual boxcar, and there’s breathtaking compromise on that issue; and also, the abortion boxcar. You will rarely hear social justice people within the evangelical movement call out abortion for what it truly is: murder. All these boxcars are coming in with that train, every one of them. So, when that movement gets a foothold in your church, you need to know that these boxcars are coming along with it.
I want us now to – our final section this afternoon: “Union with the Divine.” And we talked about, when I began, that the end goal of the Christian mysticism movement is to supposedly bring you into unity with the divine, unity with the deity, and it ends in this: “the little god’s doctrine, the little God’s doctrine,” the belief that you are, in fact, a little god.
Meister Eckhart, he was a German Catholic theologian. He was a philosopher and a mystic. For Eckhart, there was a central theme in his teaching, and it was “the ground,” the grund in German, “the ground.” He used the ground, the grund, to denote the essence of being. It is a silent and empty abyss that is, according to Meister Eckhart, the true godhead. Meister Eckhart said this: “Now we know all of our perfections, all of our perfections,” that would be a very short list. “Now we know that all of our perfections and our holiness rests in this: that a person must transcend everything created in temporal, in all being, and go into the ground that has no ground. We pray, our dear Lord God, that we may become one in indwelling union with deity, union with the divine” - the belief that we can and are, we can become gods, and in fact, are gods as soon as we find our grund, our ground.
Watch this from Kenneth Copeland. This was just last year at the Southwest Believers Convention. I actually attended this. I was there in person, yards away from him when he said this. Watch.
[Start of video with Kenneth Copeland]
KENNETH: Let this mind be in you, let this be the way you think. Let this mind be in you, which was also in the anointed Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God. And you do not think it robbery. It’s not taking anything away from God to be equal with our Father, to be equal with our Lord Jesus. He’s the one that caused it to happen, and our good God said, “Oh yeah, they’re My children; of course, they’re equal to Me. I gave birth to them.”
[End of video with Kenneth Copeland]
“Of course they’re equal to Me.” The Word-Faith movement and the mysticism upon which it is based, they’ve almost dropped the “little” from the little gods doctrine, and they just teach that we are flat out equal to God. And if I remember my Bible correctly, wasn’t the desire to be just like God kind of what led to the whole Fall thing in the first place? And yet they are teaching it as truth; they want you to believe it.
Watch this from Steven Furtick, who on paper is Southern Baptist. But watch this from Steven Furtick.
[Start of video with Steven Furtick]
STEVEN: I’m not in covenant with a person; I’m not in covenant with a political party; I’m in covenant with God Almighty. I am God Almighty.
“I am God Almighty.” Now when that first came out, people were trying to make excuses for him: “Oh, that was just a slip of the tongue. It was an inarticulate moment, kind of a Joe Biden moment, you know. He just got a little tongue tied. And I was almost willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, until I came across this sermon that he preached from two years previously when he said almost exactly the same thing. Watch.
STEVEN: God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness.” You are not my maker; you will not be my mirror. When God said, “I Am,” to Moses, you know, “My name is I Am,” he was trying to get him to see, “You are as I am.”
[End of video with Steven Furtick]
“We are gods. We are gods.” Mysticism and outright blasphemy, the belief that we are gods. What other cult does that remind you of? Mormonism. Mormonism. It’s the same basic heresy; it’s just packaged a little bit differently for different audiences.
Now I want to show you this: Bethel Church in Redding, California. I want to show you three short baptism clips. Every two or three Sunday nights they have baptism at their service. And Bethel is Word-Faith; new apostolic reformation; heavily, heavily mystical into all kinds of bizarre mysticism – grave soaking and all that kind of stuff. But they claim to have an orthodox statement of faith. You can go to their website; their statement of faith does pass a basic smell test of orthodoxy. But I want to show you some clips from their baptism service.
This happens to be from 2019. The Bethel staff member goes up to each baptismal candidate, asking them two questions: “What is your name? Why are you being baptized?” Watch.
[Start of video with Bethel Church in Redding, California]
MALE 1: One of the great privileges of being on the staff here is that we get to baptize people. I’m going to ask a couple of questions, and then we’re going to go ahead and begin to baptize people tonight. Well, two of those Christians is, one, is your name, and the second of all is why you’re being baptized tonight. And so, let’s start with you. What was your name, and why are you wanting to be baptized tonight?
FEMALE 1: My name’s Michaela.
MALE 1: And why are you wanting to be baptized?
FEMALE 1: Oh, Jesus is King. I love Him so much, and I’m a child of God.
MALE 1: Come on, come on. Can we her a round of applause. Amen.
You see how she was acting intoxicated; that’s what we saw earlier in my presentation, people being drunk in the Spirit. You think that young lady has any idea what she’s doing? No. Any idea of the significance, the importance, the holiness of what she’s doing? No. Absolutely no idea what she’s doing. But it gets worse. Watch.
MALE 1: And won’t you come forward? What was your name, and tell us why you’re being baptized tonight.
FEMALE 2: My name is Camille, and I hope that tonight’s baptism – excuse me – will cause some positive influences in my life, positive things in my life, future opportunities, and strengthen my relationship with God.
MALE 1: Camille, that’s amazing. Thank you.
She’s getting baptized because she hopes that it will cause some positive things in her life. Do you think she has any idea what she’s doing? Absolutely not. She has no idea what she’s doing; no understanding of what baptism is, or of the gospel. It gets worse. Watch this.
MALE 1: Friend, why don’t you come over. Tell us your name, and tell us why you’re being baptized tonight.
FEMALE 3: Hi, I’m Crystal. I just know that God is calling me to be a warrior for His animal kingdom, and that I’m to lead angels, an army of angels to protect animals across the world, and I just know I can’t do it without God.
MALE 1: Come on, give Crystal a round of applause. That’s amazing, sweetie.
[End of video with Bethel Church in Redding, California] She’s getting baptized because she wants to lead an army of angels for the animal kingdom. Hakuna Matata. That is shocking. This is Bethel Church. And by the way, when you sing Bethel music in your churches, you need to know this is where it’s coming from.
All three of those – and you can watch dozens and dozens of the same thing that you just saw – these people are being baptized, and they have no understanding of the gospel. This is the bad fruit being born from Christian mysticism.
I want to end with this passage of Scripture: 2 Peter chapter 1, the apostle Peter writes, “For we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ following cleverly devised myths, but being eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.’” This is the transfiguration, when Jesus was transfigured before the witness of Peter, James and John, Moses, and Elijah on each side in that preincarnate glory that He had with the Father, that covering was peeled back, and they saw Him transfigured.
“And we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have as more sure the prophetic word to which you do well to pay attention.” Look at this phrase: “more sure the prophetic word.” The prophetic word “more sure,” more certain, more certain than what they had experienced on the mount of transfiguration. What is this prophetic word that is made more sure, that is made more certain than even what they experienced? The Scriptures.
I don’t doubt, I don’t doubt that people are having experiences. I don’t doubt that they’re seeing things, claiming visions and dreams, and having various experiences, all under the name of Christian mysticism. But, dear friends, we have the prophetic word more sure, more certain. This is our authority. So, whether it’s a charismatic movement, whether it’s Roman Catholicism, whether it’s the social justice movement, this is the prophetic word more sure.
And I just want to end with the gospel. Have you been convicted by the Holy Spirit of God that you are a sinner, that you have sinned against God, and because of your sin, the righteous wrath of God abides on you? And the only way to have that wrath removed is to repent of sin, turn from sin, and place your trust in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, this perfect person, offered His perfect life as a perfect sacrifice to perfectly satisfy the perfect wrath of God, died on the cross, three days later bodily raised from the dead, proving Himself to be who He said He was: God in human flesh. And if you will turn from your sin, repent from your sin, and trust Christ as your Savior, if you will come to Him in a true godly sorrow over your sin, He will save you. You’ll pass from death to life; and that is the good news of the gospel. Thank you.
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