Archive for the ‘Rick Warren’ Category
Request for Help: Our Church is Becoming Involved with “Spiritual Direction” and Spiritual Director International
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am writing to you to in the hope you might be able to give me information about Spiritual Direction as our Church is becoming involved with it. As a Spiritual Director this person is a member of The Australian Network of Spiritual Directors (ANSD) and of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). After reading the brochure I am concerned about the direction it may lead us as it talks about contemplative reflection and interconnectedness of all things and also seeks to encourage ecumenism and inter faith dialogue etc.
Hoping you might be able to help me with this. Thank you for all the work you are doing in warning Christians about the many deceptions we can encounter. Keep up the good work that God has entrusted you to do. __________
Basically, the term “spiritual direction” is part of the contemplative prayer movement. Contemplative teachers say that one must have a “spiritual director” to “teach” or guide him or her how to enter into the silence of contemplative prayer. The spiritual director will provide books and resources by contemplative authors and direct his or her student on how to implement these authors’ spiritual practices. Ruth Haley Barton, a contemplative advocate who teaches thousands of pastors and Christian leaders about spiritual formation said this about her own spiritual director:
I sought out a spiritual director, someone well versed in the ways of the soul . . . eventually this wise woman said to me, . . . “What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.” . . . I decided to accept this invitation to move beyond my addiction to words.1 (emphasis added)
As for Spiritual Directors International (SDI), we consider them the leading association for spiritual directors in the world. Ray Yungen discusses SDI in his book, A Time of Departing:
To underscore the scope and reach of the contemplative prayer movement let’s look at the numbers put out by an organization called Spiritual Directors International (SDI). On their website this group gives ample evidence of what their practices are. In one national conference, the following was presented:
“This workshop offers an opportunity to study and experience the [spiritual] director’s role in a person’s move into the beginning and early stages of contemplative prayer, silence, and openness to new sorts of praying.”
One of the objectives of SDI is “Tending the holy around the world and across traditions.” A 2008 membership list showed 652 Episcopalians, 239 Presbyterians, 239 Methodists, 175 Lutherans, and a whopping 2,386 Roman Catholics; counting another forty or so “traditions,” the total was 6648. To show the nature of just what they mean by “across traditions,” the list included Buddhist, Gnostic Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Siddha Yoga, and even Pagan/Wiccan.2 [Today, the figure is 10,000 spiritual directors.]
On the SDI website, it states the following:
[SDI] has become one of the most significant and forward looking ecumenical and multi-faith spiritual organizations in the world today. (emphasis added)
It’s important to understand that “muliti-faith” and spiritual direction (contemplative spirituality) go hand in hand. As we have stated in the past, the “fruit” of contemplative prayer is interspirituality.
A Christianity Today article, “Got Your Spiritual Director Yet?,” confirmed two things, one that spiritual direction is contemplative, and two that it is on its way to becoming an integral part of evangelical Christianity. The article explains that popular Christian author Larry Crabb changed his views. Once a believer in psychology he switched to spiritual direction. He is just one of many who have done this.
The article credits contemplatives (mystics) such as John Cassian and Ignatius of Loyola for getting spiritual direction into the church and suggests that we can learn more about it from Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, and Dallas Willard. As Rick Warren stated in his book, The Purpose Driven Church, Foster and Willard are key players in the Spiritual Formation movement, but while Warren says that this movement is a “valid message for the church”3 that has “given the body of Christ a wake-up call,”4 we say it is a terrible seduction for the church.
Incidentally, SDI is listed in our “50 Top Organizations With a Significant Role in Bringing Contemplative Spirituality to the Church”; needless to say, we strongly recommend a church not become involved with it or with “spiritual direction” i.e., contemplative spirituality.
To further illustrate our concerns, SDI has a book titled Tending the Holy: Spiritual Direction Across the Traditions. When it says “across the traditions,” it means across all the world’s religious traditions. The book is filled with quotes by and references to mystics from the world’s largest religions (e.g., Swami Muktananda, Swami Rama, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Sri Chinmoy, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). Thus “tending the holy” infers that the holy (or God) is in all the various religions (i.e., interspirituality), even ones that reject the preaching of the Cross.
For those wanting to get involved with the spiritual formation movement (i.e., contemplative, spiritual direction), consider the “direction” you will actually be going. Not toward biblical Christianity and the Jesus of the Bible but rather toward an ecumenical, interfaith spirituality that excludes salvation which comes solely through the sacrifice on the Cross made by Jesus Christ. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This SDI poster for an event taking place in 2014 says it all.
We are reminded of a June 2013 article we did titled “Concerns Grow as Moody Presses Forward Down Contemplative Path, ” where it reports how Moody’s radio host Anita Lustrea graduated with a 2-year degree in Spiritual Direction recently from the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. One of the teachers for the Christos 2-year certificate program is Joann Nesser, who is a member of Spiritual Directors International and served on the SDI Coordinating Council for 6 of the early formative years. (source) In looking at the photos above of the interspiritual line up of speakers for the SDI 2014 conference, one cannot help wonder if these are the faces of the “new” Christianity that has surfaced and looks like it is here to stay.
1. Ruth Haley Barton, “Beyond Words”(Discipleship Journal, Issue #113, September/October, 1999, http://www. navpress.com/EPubs/DisplayArticle/1/1.113.13.html, p. 35.
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails, 2nd ed. 2006), p. 41; information taken from the Spiritual Directors International website—”Demographics of our Learning Community.”
3. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 127.
Podcast by Chris Lawson and Ray Yungen: Warning About New Age Influences in Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan
Recorded: Oct 18, 2013 / Released: Oct 21, 2013
Chris Lawson and Ray Yungen discuss the serious compromise of Rick Warren allowing New Age doctors and various Alternative Health (New Age) practices on his Saddleback Church ‘Daniel Plan’ website. The dangers of “occultism” and the sympathies of Warren’s New Age doctors (leaders/advisers) are discussed in detail, as is The Daniel Plan website promotion of the “4-7-8 Breath Technique,” a method that comes directly from yogic literature and is used by “occultists” to enter Altered States of Consciousness.
Understanding the Occultic Nature of Tantric Sex (The Practice Promoted by Dr. Amen – Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Doctor)
The Bible says we live in a “crooked and perverse” world and that as believers we are to “shine as lights in the world”(Philippians 2:15). The closer we move toward the “end of the age” (Matthew 24), the darker and more perverse the world becomes. Global peace plans, inter-faith movements, emergent spiritualities, and other carnal-induced plots will not help the world’s woes. Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). As the world moves further away from Jesus Christ, the darkness only grows. A person can never escape that darkness without Jesus Christ living in him or her . . . all these other attempts are futile.
The New Age movement has now permeated all areas of our society: the business world, healthcare, education, religion, and entertainment. Virtually nothing has been untouched by the tentacles of this occultic, meditation-driven spirituality, and it has entered the Christian church through contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation). But there is another area that mysticism has united with … and that is the sexual realm. The marriage of the two is referred to as tantra (or tantric sex), and before you stop reading this article, thinking “What has sex got to do with exposing contemplative and the New Age?” we must tell you will all soberness, this mystical sexuality is growing faster by the day, and it may affect the lives of countless Christians. Why? Because Christianity at large is going in a mystical direction, thanks to Christian leaders and organizations who continue promoting contemplative spirituality; and within the realms of these mystical states that are being induced, many will be introduced to tantra.
We decided to write this article on tantra after a Christian woman contacted us and told us (after seeing tantra mentioned in a description of For Many Shall Come in My Name) that her Christian husband (who is in leadership in a large Christian organization) was being enticed with tantric sex.
Ray Yungen explains about tantra and its relevance today:
Tantra is the name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and secrets. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation through the chakras and combining them with love-making to enhance sexual experiences.
Once completely off-limits to the masses of humanity, tantra, like all other New Age methodologies, is now starting to gain increasing popularity. A google search on the Internet shows 6,600,000 entries for the word tantra! This union of sexuality and Eastern spirituality is a perfect example to illustrate just how much the New Age has permeated our society as it has affected even the most intimate areas of people’s lives.
The potential to impact a very great number of people, especially men, was brought out in an article by a sex worker who incorporates “Tantric Bodywork” into her services. She paints a very sad portrait of the dynamics of the “enormous sex industry” in which millions of stressed and unhappy men seek out “erotic release” from women who are just as unhappy and stressed as their clients. She observes that there is a “culturally rampant phenomenon that spouses are disconnected from each other.”
To remedy this tragic interplay of exploitation, she has turned to Tantric Union to give her clients what she feels is not just sex but “union with the divine.” After she read a book called Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute, she turned her erotic business
into a “temple.” Of this temple, she says it is:
…dedicated to being a haven of the sacred, a home for the embodiment of spirit, filled with altars, sacred objects, plants, art, dreamy sensual music, blissful scents. My space is home to Quan Yin [a Buddhist goddess], crystals blessed by the Entities of John of God [a Brazilian spirit channeler].
Now the “multitudes of men” who come to her get much more than they bargained for. In the past, wives and girlfriends needed only to worry about sexually transmitted diseases from cheating husbands and boyfriends, but now their men may instead bring home spiritual entities!
Most readers might think that tantra is something exceedingly obscure that would never attract average people. But the movie industry thinks otherwise. In a 2003 movie, Hollywood Homicide (starring Harrison Ford, one of the industry’s leading men), viewers were presented with a brief snippet of tantric sex in one scene where fellow police officers opened the locker of Ford’s rookie detective partner and out falls a book (which the camera focuses on) about tantra, revealing the side-kick’s spiritual/sexual affinities (incidentally, he also teaches yoga in the film). (For Many Shall Come in My Name, 2nd ed., pp. 115-116)
If Christians begin to incorporate their contemplative proclivities with their sexual lives (a “Christian” version of tantric sex), the results will be devastating, and we predict sexual perversion will be more rampant than ever. Why? Because if the altered states of consciousness are truly demonic realms (as we believe they are) then tantric sex is another venue of the hidden darkness of which Jesus spoke.
These assertions may sound absurd and far-fetched to some readers, but evidence of the truth of this does exist. For instance, Henri Nouwen (who, along with Thomas Merton, is one of the top icons of the contemplative prayer movement), in his last book before he died, The Sabbatical Journey, favorably revealed how he listened to audio tapes on the seven chakras which is the basis for tantric sex (p. 20). Also in Nouwen’s book, he makes mention of his encounter with a mystic named Andrew Harvey, whom Nouwen referred to as his soul friend (spiritual mentor) and how much Harvey’s mysticism had touched him (p. 149). And yet Harvey’s mysticism also includes the tantric element. In a conference (The International Conference on Sacred Sexuality) Harvey led a workshop called “Sexual Liberation, Tantra, and Sacred Activism” in which Harvey “will show that sexual liberation and Tantra are vital parts of the Divine Mother’s plan for the birth of a new humanity, since they make possible a profound and ecstatic contact with what Andrew calls Divine Eros – a tender passionate dynamic love-connection. True Tantric sexuality gives its’ practitioners access to extraordinary and unified energies which will form the base of a commitment to Sacred Activism.”
As believers who are to “shine as lights in the world,” we must flee the deeds of darkness and “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” We cannot do this in our own strength, but Jesus Christ living inside us will enable us through His mercy and grace: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
“Many people have unwittingly become New Agers by simply seeking to improve their physical and mental health through meditation.” - Ray Yungen
Two and a half years ago, Lighthouse Trails first reported on Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan health program. That initial article titled “Rick Warren’s New Health and Wellness Initiative Could Have Profound Repercussions on Many,” said that Rick Warren was launching a “Decade of Destiny,” that would include focusing on health issues. Our article pointed out that the three doctors, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman, whom Rick Warren had partnered with to help develop the Daniel Plan, were all strong advocates of eastern meditation and the philosophies that go with that. Consider the following three statements, one for each of the Daniel Plan doctors:
1. Dr. Amen is a proponent of tantric sex (the combining of sexual activity with mystical practices), which is probably the most extreme form of meditation.
2. In Dr. Hymen’s book, TheUltramind Solution, Hyman emphasizes meditation, saying that it doesn’t matter what religion one has to benefit from it (p. 322). Dr. Hyman suggests that “Mindful meditation is a powerful well-researched tool, developed by Buddhists” (p. 384).
3. In January 2010, Dr. Oz brought a Reiki master onto his show to demonstrate Reiki and then ended the show saying, “try Reiki” as the #1 “Oz’s Order.” It would make sense that Dr. Oz would tell his viewers to try Reiki – his wife is a Reiki practitioner.
If one needs more evidence to understand what these three doctors believe in and teach, see the article links below under Related Material. After seeing the evidence, there can really be no doubt that Dr. Hymen, Dr. Amen, and Dr. Oz each have a strongly devoted affinity to the practice of entering altered states of consciousness through meditation in order to attain to what is known as the “higher self” (i.e., the divinity within every person).
So a fair question to ask is just how much of this New Age spirituality has rubbed off onto Rick Warren and the Daniel Plan? Well, we think quite a bit has. We would like to offer a convincing example. On September 26th, on the Daniel Plan website (owned and operated by Saddleback Church), an article titled “How to Manage Your Stress in 76 Seconds” was posted. The information below should be read and watched with discernment and in no wise is an endorsement from Lighthouse Trails. On the contrary, the practice we refer to below, if practiced, could potentially lead to dangerous Kundalini experiences. But we find it necessary to post this information because this is the direction that much of the church is heading right now. Our urgency to warn outweighs our hesitation to post this. People’s lives and souls are at stake.
The Saddleback article on September 26th is written by Dr. Joel Kahn, who tells readers to practice a technique called the 4-7-8 relaxation breathing sequence. First giving the usual instruction for meditation to sit up straight, Kahn then proceeds to give the steps for this breathing exercise with a sequence of breath in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. The rest of Kahn’s article tells readers of the benefits of doing this relaxation exercise. But let’s take a look at a video by another advocate of the exact same method – the 4-7-8 sequence – that gives more detail and explanation. As we stated a minute ago, because this is the direction the church at large is heading through the contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation) movement (and the Daniel Plan movement), we are compelled to show this with the hope it will unveil the true nature of this and other forms of meditation.
The video below is by a man named Dr. Andrew Weil, a highly respected meditation proponent. He received his medical degree from Harvard University and is the Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. Dr. Weil is not a fringe personality. (If you cannot see this video below, click here. Our report continues below this video with some vital information.
How interesting that Dr. Weil, clearly an “expert” in the field of meditation, admits that all breathing techniques (including those used in Yoga) come from India (i.e., Hinduism). Lighthouse Trails has been trying to tell Christian leaders that for 11 years now! And contemplative prayer is in the same category as “breath” prayers, and both are spiritually dangerous. Ray Yungen elaborates:
When we compare meditation techniques used in stress reduction with the type of meditation used in New Age spirituality, it is easy to see these practices as basically the same. Both methods use either the breathing technique or mantra exercises to still the mind. Unknown to most people, a blank mind in a meditative state is all that is necessary for contact with a spirit guide.
An example of this is found in John Randolph Price, founder of the Quartus Foundation and initiate of the December 31 World Healing Day Meditation. Price became involved in New Age metaphysics through just such a meditative encounter. He reveals:
“Back when I was in the business world, the American Management Association put out a little book on meditation, which indicated that meditation was a way to attain peace of mind and reduce stress in a corporate environment. So I decided I’d try it . . . I discovered how to come into a new sphere of consciousness. Consciousness actually shifts, and you move into a realm you may not have even known existed.”1
As one meditation teacher explains:
“It is more than a stress reducer. It is the vehicle all religions use to impart the esoteric knowledge of their own mystical tradition.”2
Thus, many people have unwittingly become New Agers by simply seeking to improve their physical and mental health through meditation. Two examples on this issue are comments made by two authors who honor the higher self view of man, Joan Borysenko and Ann Wise. Borysenko, a medical doctor, revealed:
“I originally took up secular meditation for its medical benefits and in time discovered its deeper psychological and spiritual benefits.”3
Ann Wise, who works in the corporate field to improve decision-making abilities for business people, makes an identical observation:
“Those who initially participate in this work purely for enhancements to their productivity in the corporate world are often startled and pleased by what one VP called “the value and inevitable focus on spirituality that evolved from the work.” . . . I often find that individuals who began brainwave training [meditation] for a specific, objective purpose also become quickly interested and involved in seeking higher levels of spiritual consciousness.”4 (from A Time of Departing, pp. 98-100)
What this means is that the people at Saddleback and the people who are participating in the Daniel Plan have been introduced to a meditation practice that can potentially turn them into New Agers! And remember, in the New Age, there is no room for the Cross at Calvary because the higher self takes the place of a need for a Savior.
Incidentally, some people may think that the term “spirituality” means Christianity, but that is not it. When the term spirituality is used, it is referring to the idea that God is in everyone (ie., the higher self).
September 26 2013 isn’t the first time the Daniel Plan website brought in the 4-7-8 meditation technique. It was introduced to the Daniel Plan on October 14th 2012,
One more thing you should know – on December 3rd, Rick Warren’s new book, The Daniel Plan, will be released. The co-authors of this book are Dr. Hymen and Dr. Amen. As we stated earlier, Dr. Amen is an advocate of tantric sex; and Dr. Hymen is connected to a shamanic organization called FourWinds (“where modern science meets ancient wisdom“).
By all appearances and logic, it looks like Rick Warren is going full speed toward the New Age/New Spirituality with the throttle fully engaged.
Related Material and Documentation:
LTRP Note: Worth noting, Rick Warren is coming out with a new book, The Daniel Plan, on December 3rd. He is co-authoring the book with two of the Daniel Plan New Age advocates, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman (see our related articles below UTT’s headlines for this week).
Weekly News in Review with Understand the Times, International
- October 4 – Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church Launching 3 Global Campuses in ’12 Cities PEACE Plan’ Movement
- October 9 – Interaction, dialogue needed to end religious violence, priest reflects
- October 8 – Kazakhstan bishop urges greater devotion to Eucharist
- October 10 – Pope To Consecrate World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Sunday
- October 3 – ‘Designer Babies:’ Patented Process Could Lead to Selection of Genes for Specific Traits
Related Articles on the Purpose Driven Movement:
The world is looking for answers to terrorism, and leaders, such as Tony Blair, believe they have the solution. Recently, at the Global Counterterrorism Forum in New York, Blair stated:
“Where there is ignorance there is often fear and where there is fear there is often conflict. But where there is greater knowledge there is greater understanding. And where there is greater understanding there is a greater chance of peaceful co-existence.
“The work that my organisation does, and the work of many others, is about not just the uprooting of terrorism, but the uprooting of the thinking and philosophy behind it. I believe there is no answer to this problem that doesn’t start and continue with the importance of educating our young people.”
What global leaders and “peacemakers” do not understand is that the reason there is terrorism, murder, and cruelty to others is because of sin in the heart of man. As the world seeks out answers and solutions to global issues, it moves further and further away from the only solution – Jesus Christ. Why do we say further away from Him? Because the answer they come up with is to eliminate any and all “extremism.” This is another way of saying remove those who say their religion is the only true religion. So what happens is Islamic extremists (fundamentalists) are lumped together with Christian fundamentalists. And now, it becomes wrong to stand for the Christian faith and say it is the only way to God. The problem with this is that the one – Islam – promotes violence, and the other – biblical Christianity – promotes love, peace, gentleness (the fruits of the Spirit as described in Galatians) and finding salvation and eternal life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Quite a contrast!
Rick Warren has not helped the matter. In fact, he lines up with Blair’s views on “extremism.” According to a news story in the January 8th 2006 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rick Warren said Christian fundamentalism will be an enemy of the 21st century.
Excerpt from that 2006 article:
“Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be ‘one of the big enemies of the 21st century.’
‘Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism – they’re all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.’” – Warren
But Christian fundamentalism and Jewish fundamentalism do not promote violence. Christian fundamentalism promotes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Period. If something that calls itself Christianity (such as the Roman Catholic church during the inquisitions) is promoting violence, then it is not true Christianity.
How sad to realize that one of the church’s most popular and influential pastors would say lump Islamic terrorists with Christian believers. In 2011, Lighthouse Trails wrote a report titled “Eye-Witness Account: Global Peace Forum at Saddleback with Rick Warren and Tony Blair Raises Serious Questions About Global Peace Plan.”
In that report, we stated:
At the forum, both Warren and Blair stated that the only way a global peace could happen on planet earth in the future would be for all faiths to work together and do good together. The audience at the forum appeared to be mesmerized and awe-struck as they were wooed with discussion on faith, good works, democracy, and coming together. Beneath the vernacular, however, was another story.
We encourage you to read that report to understand this global “peace” effort more clearly. Below is a news story that was posted on Friday on Tony Blair’s website about Blair’s recent announcement to “counter violent extremism.”
“Tony Blair welcomes global plan to counter violent extremism”
At the 4th Ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in New York on 27 September 2013, GCTF Co-Chairs announced that a core group of government and non-government partners from different regions are planning to establish the first-ever public-private global fund to support local, grass-roots efforts to counter violent extremism in all of its forms. It is anticipated that the fund will raise more than $200 million over the next ten years to support local community initiatives that counter radicalisation and extremism.
Addressing the meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the importance of those organisations working to counter extremism and how crucial it was to work in schools, singling out the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in his remarks. Click here to read more of this story.
LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes only and not for an endorsement or recommendation. Also see our recent article: “From the Frying Pan into the Fire: Women of Faith Partners with New Age Advocate Roma Downey.”
By Dan Wooding
ANAHEIM, CA (ANS) – The Women of Faith “Believe God Can Do Anything” comes to Anaheim this weekend and welcomes as a special guest Saddleback Valley Community Church Pastor Rick Warren, who will be speaking for the first time on the Women of Faith platform.
According to a news release, other guests on this tour – THE life-changing, live Christian event for today’s women – include award-winning musical artists MercyMe and Kari Jobe and comedian Anita Renfroe as well as authors and Bible teachers Lisa Harper, Jamie Grace, Rich Stearns, Lysa TerKeurst, and Ann Voskamp, who unite to create an unforgettable, day-and-a-half experience for women from all walks of life. Click here to continue reading.