The Lost Church :: By Lea Sylvester

We know from the Scriptures that Satan’s plan is to deceive the whole world. His objective is to blind the minds of the unbelieving and to recruit those who have believed to become part of his agenda to set up an end-times delusion.

Do you recall what Paul said would happen to the early Christian church?

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:28-30

A brief overview of church history reveals Paul’s prophetic warning was fulfilled. He said it would happen and it happened. Numerous church leaders emerged during the first to the third centuries. The foundational principles of the Scriptures were ignored and many followed the experiential teachings of men who claimed they had discovered new and innovative methods to get in touch with God.

So, in other words, an emerging church growth movement began to emerge or should we say diverge. The reason for this is simple.

We know that God’s Word is light. When we begin to replace the Word of God with enlightenment by the words of man, we have a perfect formula for returning to darkness. The mystics (we often call them the church fathers) added ideas to Christianity that cannot be found in the Bible – a recipe for spiritual disaster.

Jude also warned about the coming apostasy in the early church. He said certain men had crept in unawares because error was not being corrected. (Jude 4) How tragic, then and now.

Now, let’s bring this up to date. The latest wave of church growth methodology today is the Emerging Church. By the way, you should know that many of the ideas being promoted originated when present day church leaders studied the methods that emerged in the first to third centuries after Christ. These leaders say we need to reincorporate their ideas if we are going to have successful churches in this Century.

But, just a minute! If the emerging church of the past was based on extra-biblical revelation and experiences that led to such ideas that Mary was much more than what we read about in the Bible, and that the presence of Jesus can be conjured up from a wafer by a priest, shouldn’t we be somewhat concerned? Do you recall that many of the reformers were tortured and killed because they refused to accept emerging church doctrines?

Rather than reviving the teachings of the monks and early “church fathers,” I believe we should pray that such practices be exposed rather than embraced. While proponents of the Emerging Church believe they are getting closer to God, they are not paying attention to the Word of God.

The last days will be characterized by doctrines of demons who lead sincere Bible-believing Christians astray. (I Tim 4:1). The present day Emerging Church Movement has that potential.

Contemplative Prayer

The Emerging Church Movement presently underway is riddled with teachings that contradict God’s Word. The supporters of this movement may be sincere in their efforts to reinvent Christianity for the sake of reaching this generation by making the “narrow way” a “wide way.” But I believe it is time to cry out apostasy like Jeremiah did, whether it is popular or not.

While some of the teachings in the Emergent Church Movement may seem rather harmless, a number of general trends reveal a form of Christianity that is in defiance of the central message of the Old and New Testaments. For example, Brian McLaren, well known guru of this movement, has gone on record saying that hell is not a place of judgment. Instead, he believes that hell is what Jesus meant the Jews would face after His departure from planet earth. Needless to say, McLaren makes no effort to hide the fact that he supports the “Palestine Movement” and stands against Israel. This is becoming commonplace among churches these days.

This commentary does not allow the space required to do this subject justice. However, if there was one item I could warn you about and one item only, it would be the onslaught of a concept called contemplative prayer. This idea is promoted as a means to get close to God. Here is what Richard Foster (one of the proponents) has to say about the practice of contemplative prayer:

“I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on the nature of the spiritual world, we do know… there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection… “All dark and evil spirits must now leave.” [1]

Are you shocked? If you are not, you should be. Did you know that Buddhists and Hindus practice contemplative prayer as a means of getting into an altered state of consciousness? Should Christians embrace the same methods used by pagans to get with God? What god will they get in touch with?

Listen to what Jeremiah said to the people he was called to warn:

“And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” (Jeremiah 11:9-11)

Do you see the need for Jeremiah’s message today? Being led away from God by doctrines of demons is a serious offense. It’s time to wake up or suffer the consequences.

Direct all comments or questions to

[1] Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco, CA.: Harper, 1992, First Edition) p. 157