By Brannon S. Howse
Although many Americans don’t know the name Søren Kierkegaard, they know all too well his essential philosophy of life. In the mid-1800s, Kierkegaard, who claimed to be a Christian, denied any consistent morality. Known as existentialism, his ideas suddenly gained steam in America a hundred years later. The central tenet of existentialism is that there is no absolute truth.
“Christians” practicing existentialism introduced what is called neo-orthodoxy. The American version of this movement grew popular in the 1960s and virtually took over in the 70s and 80s. Today, Kierkegaard’s subjective truth is prominent within the Emergent Church, Neo-Evangelicalism, the Word of Faith Movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, and the New Religious Right.
Kierkegaard’s existentialism proclaimed that “truth is subjective.” The online Science Encyclopedia characterizes existentialism as “a philosophical movement that became associated with the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre (who rejected the name as too confining) and whose roots extend to the works of Søren Kierkegaard and Nazi Martin Heidegger.” [science.jrank.org/pages/7686/Existentialism.html.]
Martin Heidegger’s existentialism and that of Kierkegaard differed in some ways, as did the existentialism of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, but there is room for both on the highway of postmodern thinking. “Kierkegaard and Nietzsche differed radically, most famously in their approach to religion (Christianity in particular). Kierkegaard was devout while Nietzsche was a blasphemous atheist. But so, too, twentieth-century existentialism would include both religious and atheistic philosophers.” [science.jrank.org/pages/7686/Existentialism.html.]
Heidegger promoted deconstructionism in Germany, and when he joined the Nazi party, he helped teach the idea of community and collective salvation to the false church in Germany. He believed that through Darwinian evolution and eugenics, the German people would create the “Superman” of Nietzsche and rocket beyond biological evolution to spiritual evolution. That meant Germans needed to embrace this idea collectively so they could all advance on the road of biological and spiritual evolution to ultimate salvation.
Deconstructionism is significant in the teachings of today’s dominant false church, including the Emergent Church as well as neo-evangelicals. Even the New Religious Right is taking part. Although they would claim to be opposed to deconstructionism, their only real dissent is the deconstruction occurring in the political or historical realm. Beyond that, the New Religious Right is aiding in the theological deconstructionism of the Emergent Church and neo-evangelicals through ecumenical alliances, initiatives, and spiritual enterprises.
Once a person or society rejects absolute truth, the consequences of the downward spiral into moral relativism become increasing brutal. Hitler admired Nietzsche. Heidegger was a member of the Nazi Party and an influential German philosopher who became rector of the University of Freiburg. In a 1933 article in the Freiburg student newspaper, he publically endorsed Nazism: “The German people must choose its future, and this future is bound to the Führer.” [German Men and Women!", Freiburger Studentenzeitung, November 10, 1933, quoted in Jeff Collins et al, Introducing Heidegger (Cambridge, MA: Icon Books), 96.]
Nietzsche may not have agreed with all that Hitler did, and I am certain Kierkegaard would have absolutely rejected Hitler’s worldview, but Kierkegaard’s rejection of a biblical worldview and commitment to subjective truth set up a cultural slippery slope. Such slopes are often greased by professors, philosophers, intellectuals, and liberal theologians to the benefit of a dictator or tyrannical central government. This wide way of existentialism is described by Walter Kaufmann in his book, Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre:
Existentialism is foreshadowed most notably by nineteenth-century philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, though it had forerunners in earlier centuries…. Although there are some common tendencies amongst “existentialist” thinkers, there are major differences and disagreements among them (most notably the divide between atheistic existentialists like Sartre and theistic existentialists like Tillich); not all of them accept the validity of the term as applied to their own work.
Nietzsche and Kierkegaard believed a person could not know truth, that we should embrace the mysticism of the world, and reject absolutes. We can see this influence on both the American culture and many of America’s churches, seminaries, and Christian colleges. Hubert Dreyfus puts Kierkegaard’s particular contribution to the movement in succinct perspective: “Contemporary Heideggerians regard Søren Kierkegaard as, by far, the greatest philosophical contributor to Heidegger’s own existentialist concepts.”
Postmodernism, which is closely tied to existentialism, has been introduced through the English departments of many American colleges and universities. The study of literature, it seems, offers a convenient vehicle to teach the idea that no one can ever know what an author truly intends to convey. Interpretation is subject to each individual reader. As David Noebel notes:
[quote] Postmodernism’s most effective methodological tool is known as Deconstructionism, which means (1) that words do not represent reality, and (2) that concepts expressed in sentences in any language are arbitrary. Some postmodernists go so far as to deconstruct humanity itself. Thus, along with the death of God, truth, and reason, humanity is also obliterated. [end quote]
One of the most basic and successful methods of teaching reading—phonics—has already been tossed aside by “enlightened” educators. “Whole Language” is now the instruction of choice for most public schools. And what is whole language? “Rethinking Whole-Language,” an article in the January 1994 issue of The Executive Educator, explains:
[quote] The most basic principle of Whole Language, according to many laudatory books on the subject, is that illiterate people can best learn to read and write in precisely the same way they learned to speak…. To develop writing skills, children are encouraged to “invent” the spellings of words and the shapes of letters they need for their compositions. In short, Whole Language demands that instruction be directed, unsystematic, and non-intensive. The second fundamental principle of Whole Language is that individual learners should be “empowered” to decide what written materials mean. [end quote]
Later, the article makes the crucial point that “Language never can communicate exactly what the author intended to convey.”
Postmodernists in academia seek to deconstruct Western society by denying absolute truth even in the disciplines of reading and writing. Similarly, postmodernists within the American Church deconstruct Christianity—as did Kierkegaard—by proclaiming that the Bible is not the absolute, inerrant, divinely inspired Word of God. And the Emergent Church is gaining ground in spreading this false doctrine.
In rejecting traditional morality and values, existentialists uphold what they call an ethic of authenticity. You will also hear this phrase from the Emergent Church as they reject traditional, orthodox Christianity for an “authentic” Christianity.
Deconstructionism exhibits other symptoms as well. Deconstructionists tell us America was founded by rich, white men who wrote our founding documents in order to control the masses and implement an evil capitalist worldview by which to enrich themselves at the expense of the majority. Many deconstructionists within the Church add that rich, white men also founded the Church as we know it and defended certain biblical theology and doctrines in order to control and manipulate the masses while commercializing the Church for their own personal gain. In The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity, Pastor Bob DeWaay describes the worldview of church deconstructionists:
[quote] Deconstruction assumes that like the producer in the Truman Show, authorities have conspired to make us believe that the limited and constricted version of our “world” is all there is…. In the minds of some in the Emergent Church those motives are “command and control” and the spread of white, Euro-centric male-dominated Christianity over others. Hints of such motives are ferreted out in written material. [end quote]
DeWaay also explains how this affects a person’s reading of Scripture:
[quote] Literary deconstruction has serious ramifications for the interpretation of Scripture…. One can see the perverse effects of this postmodern approach to texts in many Bible studies that are far too common nowadays. A portion of Scripture is read and the question, “What does that mean to you?” is posed. So rather than seeking the singular meaning of the Biblical author, the group shares various feelings about how they respond to the text. The authority of Scripture becomes a meaningless concept because the Bible no longer binds anyone to one valid meaning….Deconstruction also doubts that language corresponds to reality. [end quote]
Deconstructionism undermines a biblical worldview of law, family, science, education, economics, history, and social issues, and replaces it with “social justice,” a masking term for socialism, communism, and Marxism. By deconstructing the influence of the Bible and biblical doctrine, the neo-orthodox create a neo-evangelicalism that is all-inclusive, pluralistic, and committed to a social gospel (socialism).
In Religious Trojan Horse, I warned of another key thinker, Alice Bailey, and her demonically inspired prediction that the “new order” would come about through the educational establishment and the apostate church. Clearly, both institutions now promote the same humanistic, postmodern worldview.
At this point, let’s add another piece to the worldview puzzle and ask: how will the false dominant church be blended into a one-world religion? The answer is simple. With its rejection of biblical authority, the false dominant church is left with only one worldview option: pagan spirituality. Again, this trend can be traced to a modernist group of German theologians.
With the core of his thought based in the teachings of Julius Wellhausen, German theologian Jurgen Moltmann in the 1960s created what he called “a theology of hope,” which also borrowed from the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel. What makes this so critical is that Hegel had a huge influence on the German people, which helped to lay the foundation for Adolf Hitler. And now, Hegel’s philosophies, as promoted by Moltmann, are being promoted by some of America’s most well-known “Christian” authors, pastors, and conference speakers. Pastor DeWaay reveals that the heretical teachings of the Emergent Church find their source in Moltmann:
[quote] The Hegelian synthesis denies absolutes, such as absolute truth or knowledge, and instead claims that everything evolves as incompatible ideas merge into something new and better. Two incompatible opposites, such as good and evil, combine and evolve into an improved third option that surpasses both. Moltmann applied Hegel’s synthesis to theology and eschatology, deciding that because incompatibilities were evolving into new and better things, God could not possibly allow the world to end in judgment. Instead of judgment, Moltmann set aside scripture to declare that the entire world and all of creation was heading toward paradise and progressively leaving evil behind. [end quote]
The “new Christianity” of the Emergent Church, the “new gospel” of New Agers, and the dominion theology of the New Apostolic Reformation all proclaim a “collective salvation.” While the NAR may argue that point, NAR theology leads there, whether they admit it or not. This “new gospel” declares that “Christians” must work together to establish the kingdom of God here and now, but this really amounts to a humanistic and man-centered theology of group consensus and collective salvation and group consensus.
The Emergent Church, like many liberal, mainstream churches, has rejected the idea of the return of Jesus Christ and His judgment of the world. Instead, EC believes it is their responsibility to build God’s kingdom on earth now (dominion theology) through utopian ideals of redistribution of wealth, the social gospel, disarmament, and a world community committed to social justice, pluralism, ecumenicalism, deconstructionism, spiritual evolution, group consensus, and community over individuality and truth.
The New Religious Right is also involved in deconstructionism through their “reclaim America” or “win the culture war” philosophy that deconstructs the gospel by redefining who is a Christian so they might be involved in ecumenical enterprises with Mormons, Catholics, Word Faith and New Apostolic Reformation individuals and groups.
The deconstructionism and ecumenicalism of the false church in Nazi Germany centered on a deconstructionism that produced the philosophy of collective salvation for the purpose of saving their nation. This is exactly what much of the New Religious Right is doing today. To prove my point all we need to do is look at what Jerry Falwell Jr. said to Glenn Beck when he was a guest on his radio program in the summer of 2010:
[quote] If we don’t hang together, we’ll hang separately. I mean that’s what my father believed when he formed the Moral Majority, an organization of Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, people of no faith. And there are bigger issues now. We can argue about theology later, after we save the country. [end quote]
How is that not deconstructionism by redefining the mission of Christians, thus the mission of the church, thus the importance of the centrality of the gospel? How is that not a deconstructionism that leads to the belief that a group consensus around their brand of Christian nationalism is necessary for a collective salvation of America?
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