Tom: Welcome to Apostasy Update. I’m T. A. McMahon and this is the fifth program in our series addressing biblical eschatology, what the Bible has to say prophetically about the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ. My partner in this discussion is Carl Teichrib. He’s the author of Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-enchantment.
Carl, welcome back, and thanks for joining me in discussing this very important subject.
Carl: Hey, Tom. It’s good to be back, and I’m excited to see where we roll with this.
Tom: Carl, you asked me a question last time—I’ve got one, well, for the both of us: Why would we say this is a very important subject?
Carl: First of all, the idea that “ignorance is bliss” is correct in one sense, but for the most part ignorance is just ignorant. And what we are talking about, Tom, are concepts, ideas, religious beliefs, secular beliefs that shape and mold the civilization we live in today. It therefore shapes and molds your family, your community, your church, your children. It’s expressed constantly in television and entertainment programming. It’s projected through the music we listen to. It’s found in the artwork, and accordingly it’s in our school curriculums; it’s in our Sunday school curriculums! We are soaking in it. And so it is extremely important, because if we remain ignorant to it, we become gullible to it. We become accepting of it. We embrace it without thought, without critical discussion, and we need to discuss this critically, because the importance of it is really an eternal importance, because it is about souls—ultimately about souls.
Tom: Yeah. That’s a terrific overview. But it makes me think of the scripture out of 1 Chronicles:12:32, and it says in part, “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.” So, as you said, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance will lead us into a pit without a doubt. We’re trusting the Lord, but He has been incredibly gracious to give us understanding of where this is all going, and it’s spelled out in details. So it’s not just a matter—yes, we trust the Lord. We know He’s going to take care of us and so on. That’s huge. But here’s where fear goes out the window—here’s where we’re trusting in Him, we’re not fearful of what’s going to happen. God said it was going to happen, and this book that we’re addressing now, Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict, the book that I referred to, was written 120 years ago. That’s why we’re looking at it. What did this guy know back then, 120 years ago? And why is it that it reads just like it happened yesterday or in our day? Never mind yesterday, today!
Tom: So that’s one aspect. Carl, because this is what you deal with, it’s an apologetic, isn’t it?
Carl: It is. And that’s really an important point. It is an apologetic—it’s an apologetic. Bible prophecy becomes an apologetic, understanding the worldview around us as an apologetic. All of these are important tools in our Christian toolbox so that we can become effective ambassadors for Christ.
Ultimately, Tom, that’s why we’re discussing these topics. It’s not just so we’re not ignorant of it, it’s not just something that we are comforted with the understanding that our trust and our hope is found in Christ, but also so that we’re equipped with knowledge and understanding so that we can be ambassadors, and that’s very important. The aspect of being an ambassador is, I think, underrated within the Christian world. We look at that as almost more of a metaphor—it’s not. Paul was making it very clear you are an ambassador. You literally are the legal and official representative of Jesus Christ, and now we have to act like an ambassador, which means understanding the culture we find ourselves in and then speaking truth into it.
Tom: Mm-hmm. The other aspect of apologetic is He tells you what’s going to happen before it takes place.
Carl: Right, right. He sees it laid out the way nobody else can.
Tom: Right. God knows what will take place, and when He says in Isaiah, “I’m the only one that does. Check your other gods, check your other belief systems,” and so on. “Do they know the beginning from the end? No, they don’t. I alone am God.” Yeah, God knows, and we don’t. But God has communicated to us to tell us. That’s a wonderful encouragement.
Now, Carl, what about protection? Isn’t understanding the things that we’re talking about, isn’t that the antidote—well, you alluded to it—to deception?
Carl: Yes, it is. Absolutely. There’s two ways of looking in terms of just the language, the metaphors we use in the Christian world about how to guard against deception. One is, I’ve heard it said, how does a bank teller know the difference between a counterfeit bill and a real bill? Well, it’s by studying the real bill and taking the time to know what the real currency looks like so that when the counterfeit comes through, you hopefully have the tools in hand to be able to distinguish one from the other. Very important.
There’s another metaphor that’s also important, and that is how do you build immunity? You build some immunity by exposure to those things that are against your system. And in a way, that’s what we’ve done here. We are exposing the listener to this, the audience, and each other so that we can begin to see the difference, so that when we do run across these worldviews in our day-to-day life, we don’t have to be afraid of it, but we do understand it, and we are at that point better equipped to see the deception.
Tom: Mm-hmm. I’ll give our viewers a quick example here: This school in Redding, California, it’s called Bethel Church, and it’s called the School of Supernatural Ministry. I interviewed some students there, and I was talking to one of the students. He was from Australia, and I just got into eschatology, what the Bible says is going to happen in the last days. He had no clue as to what I was talking about. I said, “Well, do you know what the next kingdom according to the chronology of the Bible, the eschatology of the Bible?”
See, his school taught him that there’s coming a great wide world revival, that Christians are going to take over the world. What’s going to take place next is the kingdom of the Antichrist. Now, they’re not taught that. Why? Because it gets in the way of their agenda with what they want to do, which is not in line with what God’s Word says. So there is just one aspect of why we need to understand what the Bible says about the last days and what’s happening.
Hey, folks, it’s not just within extreme charismatics. How about reformed theology? “Tom, why would you say that?” Well, because reformed theology, the eschatology of most reformed theologians is amillennialism, okay? Well, what does that mean? Well, it means that they believe we are in the Millennium now, okay? Things are getting better, aren’t they, Carl? Satan’s been bound…
Carl: That’s what I see on the news! [laughs]
Tom: Today? Folks, look, I mentioned this before: we laugh at this on the outside, but we’re crying on the inside, because these are important issues. Now, you’d say, “Well, okay, that’s reformed theology and so on.” No, it’s not just reformed theology. Amillennialism, that is the most popular eschatological view today. Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism…I mean, you could go down the line—Episcopalianism, and so on. You ask people, “What’s your view of that?” And they say, “No, we’re amillennialists. We believe that all of this is taking place now.” As I said, Satan’s been bound, and it’s going to turn out that way.
Carl: Yeah, there’s a lot of Mennonites, it’s a lot of people in the Mennonite community who hold to that, as well.
Tom: Yeah. Well, as I said, folks, you can check this out. Amillennialism is the most popular view among denominations today. Yeah, there are some that don’t abide by that, but still, that is the one, and it’s problematic.
Carl: Another angle, and this really hit me today as I was going through this book some more, it’s poking around in one section, and Andrews is talking about Christian socialism, and how that too is all about building the kingdom of God here and now. We’re going to project the kingdom here through our institutions, our influence upon society. And how, really, it’s still the building of what really is a kingdom of man. That’s what it boils down to. What was Christian socialism then? How can we use that term today? Now we say they’re progressives.
Carl: Another term I’ve heard: evolutionary Christians.
Tom: Yeah. The book, folks, if you didn’t recognize it right away, that’s the book that we’re talking about: Christianity—that Carl just held up—Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict. So much in there.
Now, you’re picking out pieces and so on, which you can do, and you just go, “Wow, wow!” Right? I mean, that was one of my buddy Dave Hunt’s favorite… “Wow!” Well, there are other things in that: prior to socialism, there’s democracy doing the same thing, heading the same way. “Oh, you guys better prove that.” We will. We shall, just based on reason and how this plays out.
Last week we talked about how those who reject the teachings of the Bible come up with their own game plan to fix the mess the world is in. And we noted—and we’re not going to repeat this every time, but I think we need to underscore it as we move forward—we noted that their so-called practical attempts (you said it over and over again, Carl) dead ends. Dead ends. Well, what’s a dead end? Well, you know what a dead end is, but scientific materialism, looking to science to solve all our problems. Yes, science has been helpful, but it ain’t gonna solve all of our problems. Evolution, the belief that we’re moving upward—I like to use the phrase “From slime to divine,” okay, so to speak. But that’s it, folks! I mean, we’ll play that out in the weeks to come.
So along that line there’s naturalism, and how many times have we heard this…and I’m not getting on those who are really tuned into ecology and so on. There’s some good in that. But is nature going to solve all our problems? And of course we’re told that we’re part of the animal realm. Well, you know, “We’re saying we need to get back to nature, it’s going to solve our problems, and so on. It’s wonderful, it’s loving, it’s kind….” Carl, is that setting aside the “kindness” of the survival of the fittest?
Carl: It unfortunately is setting aside a lot of things. I was engaged in a brief Twitter discussion by a Christian gentleman. He was asking us on his feed, “How do you reconcile Genesis to Darwinian evolution? How do you reconcile Genesis to scientific understanding?” My response to the effect was, “I’m not too worried about reconciling Genesis to Darwinian evolution, and I can’t even consider that until Darwinian evolution becomes compatible with science, because that has failed.”
Tom: It is absolutely pseudoscience…
Carl: Yes, it is.
Tom: …false science, and scientism, right?
Tom: Scientism, it’s a religious system.
Carl: Philosophical pseudo-religious position. And I like the fact you mention democracy. Yes! All of this is part of that democratic impulse that moves us all towards a sense of oneness, a oneness politically, a oneness spiritually, culturally. And if you don’t conform now, whatever the mob rule is, because it is essentially the biggest mob, and that becomes evolutionary, because it eats up everybody else, as well. There’s no kindness to it. In fact, it becomes increasingly more hostile and demonstrates the bestiality of man if you step in the way of it.
Tom: We are going to discuss this at length in upcoming programs, but just this fact: what’s democracy about? It’s about pandering to the people, whatever they want. How do you get elected? You give the people what they want. I know people have probably said, “Well, we’re not really a democracy, we’re a republic.” We used to be a republic, okay? But nevertheless, we’ll get to that.
Carl, as you pointed out, it’s a dead end. The substantial failures should get the attention of those who had rejected God’s plan for solving the problems that, well, basically caused the mess that we’re in. But you’d think common sense at least would indicate that such people would turn back to God for His solution in their hopeless condition. “No!” they say. “That’s a religious view. Back to God? It has to do with a God who created us and wants us to obey Him. We prefer,” they would go on to say, “replacing that God with ourselves. We prefer obeying ourselves, obeying the infinite potential within us, being in submission only to ourselves and accommodating and guided by our inner feelings.”
Folks, what I’ve described here is the shift, and again, Samuel Andrews in his book, he laid it out 120 years ago. The shift from pragmatism that failed, dead end, as Carl said, to mysticism. In other words, let’s believe that we are God and can produce all that is ascribed to an infinite God. Well, that’s not going to happen, and it’s a delusion. It’s a grand delusion. But once you reject God and don’t want to be in submission to Him, that’s your only choice: God or self, right, Carl?
Carl: Right. God is either Creator or creation. And this is important for people to understand, and keep in mind, this is the late 1800s when he publishes his book. This is important for people to realize. So he is seeing the rise of the secular materialist naturalist mind. He is seeing that rise, and he recognizes a pantheistic impulse behind it. If materialism is being rejected, if we can’t go forward with materialism—and he recognized this dead end. It’s inevitable, hitting the wall. Then we have to look for something else, and that is that we look to nature; we look inwardly, because man is part of nature. We look inwardly to try to find some purpose and meaning. We look inwardly to find the divine self or what would be called in the Human Potential movement a “higher Self,” Self with a capital S. And Andrews recognizes that mystical pantheistic propensity that now has to happen. Listen, any time you engage in a culture that is secular in its orientation saying, “No to God, and no specifically to a form of transcendent religion saying it is all material, it is all naturalistic.” That itself will eventually create a vacuum, and that vacuum will be filled with something else.
So I’m going to give you a more modern example: this is not a Christian person—Robert Geraci in his book Virtually Sacred, and Virtually Sacred is a book on virtual reality and how spirituality and religion and pluralism, pantheism is being infused in virtual reality. This is what he writes in his book: “Is there anything special about what we now call secularism? It is that we live within a spiritual marketplace. The 20th century was not a time when religion disappeared, as some had hoped or feared it would, but it was a time where we started thinking quite differently about what we might get out of our wealth of religious and nonreligious institutions. As a result, secularism of theory has largely given way for theories of pluralism in which many religions coexist.”
Now, of course, within the interfaith movement they all coexist as equals, as having the same stature, the same standing, the same experiential pointers to the god within you. And this is not a Christian individual, but he recognized—the book was published in 2014. He recognized the writing on the wall, that even in an environment like virtual reality, we’re no longer content with secularists, we’re moving some form of spiritual experience.
Tom: Right. Well, let’s go back to the 1800s, okay? My question is how did the people of that day buy into this? How did they buy into pantheism and exchange the words pantheism for mysticism, or mysticism for pantheism, because that’s what it’s all about. But how did it get to the people? It shocked me—I was startled, you know, when Samuel Andrews looked around and saw this kind of, like, all over the place, but it was at another level.
So, Carl, in your words, how did this stuff trickle down? How did this move from the philosophers, the poets of the time who were at the top of not just the academic realm and so on, but the esteemed realm and so on—how did it trickle down?
Carl: At that point it trickled down primarily through literature. It trickled down through books, through publications. One gentleman that Andrews doesn’t talk about but that fits within that timeframe—and he doesn’t talk about it primarily because Andrew Carnegie, when Andrews is writing his book, is almost still unknown within the realm of religious philosophy. But Andrew Carnegie was, of course, the great industrialist of that time period. Here’s an example, Tom, of how it trickles down:
In the early parts of the 20th century, in essence just, literally, a handful of years after Andrews’ book is published, Andrew Carnegie has accepted the theory of evolution. He has rejected Christian principles in how we understand Christianity. He had a version of it in his own way, but he rejected those principles and he now believed in evolution, that man was progressing forward. Man was becoming ever better. We were ascending. And so he understood and recognized the importance of literature, the influence of the written word at that point, and across the United States he put Carnegie Libraries in big cities and small towns. There are, I would suggest, probably hundreds of Carnegie Libraries across the United States. I can go across the line into North Dakota and I can still find the buildings of the Carnegie Library system. And what Andrew Carnegie did—and this is very interesting—when those libraries opened up, he had special rooms for international thinking to help the lay person understand the evolutionary progressive lineage of man. So again, this is the early period of the 20th century, and Andrew Carnegie understood the importance of literature, just like Samuel Andrews is talking about in terms of, “Oh, it’s the literature we’re reading! It’s that influence now that we are taking in.” Today, unfortunately we don’t have a public that reads a lot, but we sure absorb a lot of information.
Carl: Probably more so than in any other time in history. We’re not absorbing wisdom, but we’re absorbing information, and that’s shaping us just as literature then shaped that culture.
Tom: Yeah. That was an interesting insight about Carnegie. I think about—okay, so, these philosophers and poets lay this stuff out. And then you’ve got somebody to explain it to the next level, okay, and that’s done through more books. And certainly at the academic realm you’ve got the professors buying into it and then passing it onto their students. And then as their students go out, maybe they’re popular writers, and now they’re explaining this stuff in terms of its popularity until it gets down to the man on the street.
Carl: One more layer, Tom, that’s really important: it goes not just into the secular academic world, but the secular academic world interacts with the religious academic world, with our seminaries. And all of a sudden, Christian academics are now wrestling with, How do we have a Christian understanding of evolution, of socialism, of progressive ideals? And then our Christian seminary professors become enamored with that, and then they pass that onto their students who become the pastors of your church, and that’s how the Christian world absorbs that culture.
Tom: I would add that, folks, you’d be surprised—some of the writers that we love of days of old, right around the time of Darwin, they bought into that! They didn’t understand it, but there’s a pride that says, “We can’t go against the scientific world. We’ve got to be up to speed with all of that.” So that’s another part of it.
Tom: The other thing that I’m thinking about is, Carl, that certainly is going on today, I think the difference being that it’s taking place as though it’s on steroids. You alluded to it. Certainly the media explosion of our day has super-energized it—the internet, movies, television…you know my background in film as a Hollywood screenwriter. I don’t know of any medium that’s more influential worldwide than movies! Wouldn’t do it, but having been a former screenwriter, I can work in these ideas in terms of popular characters on the screen. So it’s huge, and it seems to be a more aggressive promotion of beliefs that are opposed to biblical Christianity.
Carl: I almost feel like I’m beating a horse with this book, but my goodness! Andrews is talking about how the pantheistic perception is the “force,” and…[laughs]
Tom: Carl, you use this New Age…I mean, you see these things! Okay, you don’t want to make a big deal of it and so on, but it can’t help but pop out at you, okay?
And again, folks, this man who wrote the book, he never claimed to have super spiritual insight into this. He just read what the book said, and then he backed up to his day and they say, “Hey, wait a minute, I know what it says is very clear in the Book of Revelation. Is there any of that going on around me?”
Carl: Exactly, and it…back to the aspect of Hollywood and films, then Lucas comes along with Star Wars and we were all given pantheism through the force.
Tom: Yeah. Here’s an example kind of along that line…well, first of all, you grieved me so much last week when you talked about the first conference that you went to that was focused on children. I mean, you can process it, but you don’t want to.
Now, that being said, is that happening today? Well, as we mentioned, kindergarten, first grade, right there: mindfulness—how about that? Meditation: “Well, kids, let’s have our quiet time.” Okay? It’s all based on Eastern Mystical practices and teachings.
Carl: And at the end of the day it’s namaste. They’re all greeting each other namaste, “The god within me recognizes the god within you.”
Tom: Okay, now we know that there’s always a line that says, “Oh, no, it doesn’t mean what you think it means.” Folks, it’s bowing down to the god within you.
Tom: That’s what it is, okay? Now let me give you another example: When I was a teenager in a town of about maybe 30,000 people, there was a program that was started at the YMCA. It was called yoga. Now today, if you asked some teenagers, “What does YMCA stand for?” I can almost guarantee you the first Y is going to be for yoga, okay? Because it’s absolutely pervasive.
But here’s what I’m getting at: back then I had no idea what this was about, this program. Now remember, folks, I’m in my mid-70s, so we’re going back quite a while. But you talk to teenagers today and ask them if they’ve heard of or know what these terms mean: karma, mantra, yoga, guru, Brahman, meditation, ohm, avatar, moksha, shakti. Now, they probably don’t know what the terms mean, but I can guarantee that they’ve heard of most of them. You think so, Carl?
Carl: Absolutely. And if they haven’t heard of it, they’ve at least been in situations where those terms have a meaning that they are directly engaged with.
Tom: Yeah, or they know their favorite movies, they hear it from that. I mean, nobody knew what “avatar” was till the movie came out, all right? But now they have a sense of it. I mean, you want to talk about shamanism on the screen?
Carl, you mentioned Star Wars. There it is—the force, the light and dark side of the force. This is pantheism, or panentheism. But with Avatar, you have shamanism to the max. Now they have an understanding of what this is about. It’s not a true understanding—I mean, obviously it represents what shamanism is, but it’s not a good thing. So it’s everywhere, folks. We’re going to pick up on this next week.
So, brother, thank you. Hopefully our audience has been blessed, edified, encouraged.
Carl: Thank you, Tom, and truly it is also my prayer and hope that the audience will, through all of this, become better grounded in God’s Word and be better equipped to be ambassadors of Christ.
Tom: Amen. See you next time, bro.
Carl: All right, bye-bye.