A.W. Tozer: Spirit of Babylon Controls "New" Church

Over and across the entire denominational spectrum of the Christian church, the conception of God no longer reflects His own self-revelation in Scripture and many who call themselves Christians have little idea what they believe or why—or even what Christians are meant to be doing: 

"For many Christians, God simply meets a previously unmet need: a father, a best mate, a provider, or a gentle, loving sugar daddy! While many non-Christians see God as nasty and vindictive, or a cosmic party-pooper, many Christians hold to equally erroneous conceptions of God that bear little resemblance to the biblical revelation." (The theological corruption of the Evangelical Church, by Andrew S Kulikovsky, creation.com)

Some years ago, the highly respected theologian A.W. Tozer  rebuked the church on this very point:

Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.” (ibid)

Tozer argued that a true conception of God is fundamental,

 “...not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse.” Indeed, “there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.”

The most ignoble and imperfect idea about God is posited by evolutionary theologians.   Because modern Christians are very comfortable with natural science and the idea that 13.72 billion years ago there was a bang and evolution by natural selection they uncritically embrace the teachings of theistic evolutionists such as John Dickson and progressive creationists such as Hugh Ross who deny, 

"... that the Genesis account of creation is a historical record of God creating the universe and everything in it by divine fiat in six days. Instead, they posit that God’s only activity in bringing about the present world has been maintenance, not special miraculous acts of creation in history. In essence, theistic evolution borders on deism since the god of the theistic evolutionist is distant and impersonal."  (Kulikovsky)

According to Kulikovsky, theistic evolution comprises the following basic beliefs:

(1) the first human couple (if there even was one) shared a common ancestor (pre-Adamites) with the apes;

(2) the first human couple were highly evolved hominids who were imparted with God’s image

(3) death, decay, and suffering are an integral part of the world God created, and therefore, the teaching that physical death is a direct consequence and penalty of Adam’s sin is denied

(4) the penalty for sin is ‘spiritual death’

Very clearly, theistic evolution and progressive creation not only cast doubt upon God’s omniscience, omnipotence, efficiency, and goodness but make Him responsible for suffering, cruelty and death. As Nobel Prize winner and atheist Jacques Monod (1910–1976) put it:

“Selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving new species, and more and more complex and refined organisms … the more cruel because it is a process of elimination, of destruction. The struggle for life and the elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethic revolts. An ideal society is a non-selective society, it is one where the weak are protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.” (Kulikovsky)

Rather than being an evil and a curse arising as a result of the Fall as Scripture teaches (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12), said Kulikovsky, human physical death is credited as being an integral part of God’s plan to ‘evolve’ His creation:

" Thus, we end up with a distant, impersonal God who is not all-knowing, not all-powerful, not very efficient, and not all that good! A god that endorses the exploitation and subjugation of the weak by the strong and employs indiscriminate pain, suffering, and death to bring about the world they desire can hardly be called just, loving, or compassionate. This is, ultimately, a libel on God and His character."

 Moreover, faithful Christians who uphold the Genesis account creation ex nihilo are marginalized, derided and ridiculed.  For example, during a televised discussion with theoretical physicist and self-described atheist Lawrence Krauss, Dickson advised him on how to deal with the odious faithful:  

“...what you should be doing, Lawrence (is) hand them over to us. People like the Centre for Public Christianity, where I work, who are trying to educate not only the general public but also the Christian public on Biblical scholarship and scientific scholarship. … I just mean we could be the friend—we could be the friend to the new atheism and have the effect you want. I think all you are doing is firming up the opposition.” (Kulikovsky)

The "New" Church

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary warns that the Protestant Evangelical Church is splitting apart.  Faithful traditionalists said Mohler, are exiting the autonomous 'new' church which defines itself over and against Traditionalism, or authentic Christianity.   Whereas traditionalists affirm the essentials of the faith and reject the dangerous idea of  accommodating the church to evolution, science, and culture, the "new" church either soft-pedals or rejects the essentials and is willing to adopt teachings and cultural practices to reach pagans, atheists and agnostics:

" This means  whatever is influencing the culture can more easily come into the church because  we are adopting its ways. Previously what is spiritually harmful has been coming  through the backdoor instead of the front. Now it’s knocking on the front door,  and many are answering it by opening it and inviting it in. This is done because  of a lack of judgment on leader’s part. While everyone is making a fuss about the  Da Vinci code released to persuade the public on Christianity we have not  recognized what is taking place in our own living room – the church." (New Age Pathways in the church, letusreason.org)

Caused by a devastating loss of biblical and doctrinal conviction, this dangerous trend is increasingly evident in growing numbers of churches:

"....more and more Christians are willing to reject or compromise the uniqueness of Christ and His atonement, citing the apparent 'sincerity' of those who worship other gods, or no god at all."  Due to loss of theological nerve,  many "American Christians seem increasingly reluctant to believe that their unsaved neighbors will go to hell.... the essence of this belief is universalism, the belief that all persons will be saved...in spite of what (God) reveals in Holy Scripture. These persons believe in a God of their own devising, and not the God of the Bible....Their stance betrays their lack of conviction and even compassion.  Their conscience is uncluttered by concern for the lost." (The Disappearance of God, R. Albert Mohler Jr., pp. 184-186)

In "The New Spirituality: Dismantling and Reconstructing Reality," Dr. Peter Jones, professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California, writes that a 'new' spirituality is overtaking the "new" church that is not new but is rather,

" ....the reappearance of the massive system of ancient world paganism and, as such, represents the greatest threat to the church since the Greco-Roman pagan empire. The situation is urgent."   (modernreformation.org)

Jones sees that because "new" church theology already has much in common with 'new' pagan spirituality the Church Militant is becoming the postmodern "new" church Imitant,

"...adopting "a new Christian worldview" that, devoid of theological biblical clarity, apes the pagan culture and concludes that "the body of Christ is queer, is man, is woman, is straight."  The "new Christian" employs spiritual techniques borrowed from pagan mysticism and imitates the self-justifying moralism of liberal social action." (ibid, Peter Jones)

Rather than the contemporary "new" church, over in the U.K. there is something called "fresh expressions," a form of church for our increasingly pagan culture,

"A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church."  (freshexpressions.org.uk)

Like its American counterpart, the growth oriented fresh expressions 'new' church describes itself as missional, meaning it believes it can save souls by serving and/or meeting the needs of pagans and other unbelievers by bringing their culture and pagan spirituality into the church.   According to Anglican priest Steve Hollingshurst,  since pagans prefer to embrace the evolving divine feminine (the oneness of male/female energies) it is important that the church celebrate the divine feminine as well. (onearthasinheaven.blogspot.co.uk )

More than fifty years ago  A.W. Tozer saw that Christian theism was no longer God-centered but man-centered.  The "new" man-centered church has adopted a "new" Decalogue and a "new" set of Beatitudes:

A new Decalogue has been adopted by the neo-Christians of our day, the first word of which reads “Thou shalt not disagree”; and a new set of Beatitudes too, which begins “Blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they shall not be made accountable for anything.” It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences in public with the understanding that no one will try to convert another or point out errors in his belief. The purpose of these talks is not to confront truth, but to discover how the followers of other religions think and thus benefit from their views as we hope they will from ours.”   (The Dwelling Place of God)

 The stance of the 'new' church betrays a lack of conviction; a shallow faith resulting in a  church so intertwined with evolutionary science and the surrounding culture that the two are essentially one and the same, thereby bringing it to the brink of apostasy:

"The Bible has no compromise whatsoever with the world....The Bible...sends us out into the world, but never to compromise with the world, and never to walk in the way of the world...." (The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, Tozer, p. 15)

Tozer argues that the "new" church has been overtaken and held hostage by spiritually impotent theologians who have opened the door to the spirit of Babylon which now controls the "new" church and has created a situation where it worships on altars of science, evolution, marketing and publicity and is dominated by cults:

1. The Cult of Imitation: Christians imitate what is seen outside of the Church, " a characteristic of immaturity" resulting in our secular pagan rock 'n roll dominated media and blue-jeans obsessed 'fashion' industry setting the standards for the Church:

  "There was a time," said Tozer, "when the Church set the standard for music (and) the world imitated the Church.  Men like Beethoven, Mozart and Handel set the whole world singing, and the focus of their music was the church." Now the Church imitates the world's rock music, "We offer this 'swine' on the altar of Jehovah.  What blasphemy.  We have so much more to offer God (but now we import) the culture around us (and this) is the sad reality of today's Christian." (pp. 28-29)

2. The Cult of Entertainment: Today's church cannot survive without a heavy dose of entertainment.  It is a church of shallow, feel-good theology punctuated by jokes, plays, and other adolescent speech and  behavior:

"What this generation of Christians needs is not religious entertainment to satisfy carnal appetites (but) biblically based literature that challenges and stirs the soul to deeper appreciation of God and Christ and the whole plan of salvation.  It is true that what we feed is what grows.  If we feed the carnal nature and its appetite, that will be the overpowering aspect of our life.  If we feed the spiritual, our appetite for the things of God will grow." (pp. 18, 30-31)

3. The Cult of Celebrity: Today celebrity church growth gurus mesmerize pastors with their latest innovative church growth schemes while celebrity 'feel-good' preachers' dazzle and delight carnal Christians with theologically empty messages as rock-star worship leaders enflame passions, deafen ears, benumb minds and set bodies in motion:

"We swoon over celebrity.  Whatever they say, we accept as important....even if it goes contrary to plain biblical teaching.  St. Ignatius said, 'Apart from Him, let nothing dazzle you." But we allow "everything but  'Him' to dazzle us these days.  We have become rather bored with God and the truths of Scripture." (p. 31)

Where in the past, Christians entered into the presence of God with an overwhelming sense of reverence and great thoughts stimulated them to the highest passions their minds and feelings could stand, today's 'new' Christians are irreverent, over-stimulated fleshy creatures addicted to diversion, technology and,

 "....all of the activities and pleasures of the world.  Whatever is stimulating to the average person out in the world is soon integrated into the program of the local church.  Find any pleasure out in the world and you will eventually see it in the evangelical church." (p. 35)

 The Curse of Worldliness:

"What harmony is there between Christ and Belial....between the temple of God and idols?" (2 Cor. 6:15-16) or between "the lord's table and the table of demons?" (1 Cor. 1021)

Like its' "new" mystical evangelical counterpart, the New Apostolic Reformation that seeks to grow the church and save souls by accommodating the faith to the felt-needs of our seeker-sensitive paganized culture, ancient Gnosticism similarly  attempted to incorporate the seeker-sensitive spirituality of the Greeks into Christianity.    In his book,  "The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back," Dr. Peter Jones, writes that the resulting perversion, 'Christian Gnosticism,' is a form of mystical Christian spirituality blended together with paganism. (p.6)

Speaking of the worldly "new" church, Tozer said he hears Jesus saying,

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37)

Moreover, the person of discernment who sees the worldliness of the "new" church,

"...is written off as being somewhat fanatical. But the day is coming when the house will be left desolate and there will not be a man of God left among them."  (p. 14)

These are the days of testing and shaking that will become more pronounced, thus Tozer warns  "new" Christians to "wake up," to take heed, for if you are settling back,

"... snuggling into your...chair and resting in your faith in John 3:16 and the fact that you have accepted Jesus Christ, you had better watch yourself.  Take heed, lest you...be found wanting. (2 Tim. 3:5-7) Take heed of your own heart, lest when all is said and done, you have become tied in with the world." (p. 15)

@Linda Kimball