Archive for the ‘Contemplative Denominations’ Category
What Christian Leaders Need to Know – The Final Outcome of Practicing Contemplative Prayer: Interspirituality
LTRP Note: With more than 90% of the Christian colleges and seminaries now bringing in contemplative spirituality via Spiritual Formation programs, and with Christian leaders such as Rick Warren and Beth Moore endorsing the movement, and with countless pastors giving it a thumbs up to their congregations, isn’t it time professors, pastors, and leaders understand what the final outcome of contemplative prayer is? Isn’t it time they understand that leading Christians and church goers down this path is leading them away from the Cross, not toward it. At Lighthouse Trails, we believe it is beyond time for this understanding to occur.
By Ray Yungen
The final outcome of contemplative prayer is interspirituality. If you have truly grasped the portrait I have tried to paint in my book and articles, you have begun to see what this term signifies. The focus of my criticism of mystical prayer must be understood in the light of interspirituality.
Just what exactly is interspirituality? The premise behind interspirituality is that divinity (God) is in all things, and the presence of God is in all religions; there is a connecting together of all things, and through mysticism (i.e., meditation) this state of divinity can be recognized. Consequently, this is a premise that is based on and upheld by an experience that occurs during a self-hypnotic trance linking one to an unseen world rather than to the sound doctrine of the Bible.
It is important to understand that interspirituality is a uniting of the world’s religions through the common thread of mysticism. Wayne Teasdale, a lay monk who coined the term interspirituality, says that interspirituality is “the spiritual common ground which exists among the world’s religions.”1 Teasdale, in talking about this universal church also states:
She [the church] also has a responsibility in our age to be a bridge for reconciling the human family . . . the Spirit is inspiring her through the signs of the times to open to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Confucians, and indigenous peoples. As matrix [a binding substance], the Church would no longer see members of other traditions as outside her life. She would promote the study of these traditions, seek common ground and parallel insights.2 (emphasis mine)
An article in my local newspaper revealed just how well received interspirituality has become in certain circles. One Presbyterian elder who was described as a “Spiritual Director” made it clear when she said:
I also have a strong interest in Buddhism and do a sitting meditation in Portland [Oregon] as often as I can. I considered myself ecumenical not only in the Christian tradition, but with all religions.3 (emphasis mine)
There is a profound and imminent danger taking place within the walls of Christianity. Doctrine has become less important than feeling, and this has led to a mystical paradigm shift. Sound doctrine must be central to this debate because New Ageism has a very idealistic side to it, offering a mystical approach to solve human problems. Everyone would like to have his or her problems solved. Right? That is the practical aspect I wrote about in the last chapter—a seemingly direct route to a happy and fulfilled life. However, one can promote the attributes of God without actually having God.
People who promote a presumably godly form of spirituality can indeed come against the truth of Christ. Then how can you be assured what you believe and practice is of God?
The Christian message has been clear from the beginning—God has sent a Savior. If man only had to practice some kind of mystical prayer to gain access to God then the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fruitless, hollow endeavor.
Sound Christian doctrine comes from the understanding that mankind is sinful, fallen, and separated from God. Man needs a saving work by God! A teaching like panentheism (God is in everybody) cannot be reconciled to the finished work of Christ. How could Jesus be our Savior then? New Age constituents will say He is a model for Christ consciousness, but the Bible teaches He is the Savior of mankind. Therefore, panentheism cannot be a true doctrine.
The problem is that many well-intentioned people embrace the teachings of panentheism because it sounds so good. It appears less bigoted on God’s part. No one is left out—all are connected to God. There is a great appeal in this message. Nevertheless, the Bible does not teach a universal salvation for man. In contrast, Jesus said:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Christ’s message is the polar opposite of these universalist teachings. Many people (even Christians) today think only a few really bad people will be sent to hell. But in Matthew, the words of Jesus make it clear that this just is not so.
While God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world, He did not say all would be saved. His words are clear that many would reject the salvation He provided. But those who are saved have been given the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18) making an appeal to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3). The Christian message is not samadhi, Zen, kundalini, or the contemplative silence. It is the power of the Cross!
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Yes, perishing, and not just unaware of their true self.
In an opinion poll, the startling results describe how Americans actually view God. Spirituality and Health magazine hired a reputable pollster organization to gauge the spiritual beliefs of the American public. This national poll revealed that 84 percent of those questioned believed God to be “everywhere and in everything” rather than “someone somewhere.”4 This means panentheism is now the more popular view of God. If true, then a high percentage of evangelical Christians in America already lean towards a panentheistic view of God. Perhaps many of these Christians are fuzzy about the true nature of God.
How could this mystical revolution have come about? How could this perspective have become so widespread? The answer is that over the last thirty or forty years a number of authors have struck a deep chord with millions of readers and seekers within Christendom. These writers have presented and promoted the contemplative view to the extent that many now see it as the only way to “go deeper” in the Christian life. They are the ones who prompt men and women to plunge into contemplative practice. It is their message that leads people to experience the “lights” and the “inner adviser!”
1. Wayne Teasdale, “Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries: A Theological Reflection” (The Golden String newsletter, http://clarusbooks.com/Teasdale.html, accessed 10/2009).
2. Wayne Teasdale, A Monk in the World (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002), p. 64.
3. Jan Alsever quoted in Statesman Journal, January 27th, 1996, Religion Section.
4. Katherine Kurs, “Are You Religious or Are You Spiritual?” (Spirituality & Health Magazine, Spring 2001), p. 28.
Letter to the Editor: General Superintendent, Jo Anne Lyon, Leading Wesleyan Church Down Contemplative/Emergent Road
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
The Wesleyan church is being lead by Jo Anne Lyon, who has yoked the denomination with false teachers. I had been in a church that was taken over by the Wesleyan denomination. I later transferred my membership away from it. She has spoken in our church and she all but tripped over herself in bowing down in name dropping being in meetings with Rick Warren and Bono. She also was giving credit to the teachings of Richard Foster. She also has signed many documents with the usual suspects and their names on it – Rick Warren, Bill and Lynn Hybels, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, and the like. She has equated being pro-environment/climate change with being pro-life. She is pushing the social gospel and spiritual formation.
Even if it were a man in the pulpit spewing this stuff, I would say it is unbiblical. Thought I would let you know to keep your eye on things.
Here is just one of the stops coming up:
GO + MAKE | The Wesleyan Church
The Spiritual Formation Department Tour: GO + MAKE is coming to the Chesapeake District on Saturday, November 7, 2015. The event will be hosted by Calvary Wesleyan Church in Harrington, Delaware. https://www.wesleyan.org/3490/go-make
Saturday, November 7th is the date set for GO + MAKE a one-day, holistic, all-church discipleship training event for local church leaders plus a Generous Church Training event for lead pastors and spouses. Both events will be hosted by Calvary Wesleyan Church in Harrington, Delaware for the Chesapeake District and will run from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Don’t miss this day of training and learning. These events are a great opportunity for you and your church congregants to be challenged and energized by our denominational leaders.
Rev. Jeremy Summers, Director of Spiritual Formation, previous to his current appointment, he served three Wesleyan churches in Indiana and Illinois. He has also studied at Indiana Wesleyan University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and currently at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeremy is also the author of Awakening Grace: Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Soul, the Merge Discipleship Series, and The Way Forward.
Rev. Scott Simmons, Director of Youth Ministries for the Wesleyan denomination, has served in youth ministry for over 18 years. He is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and a graduate of Bethany Bible College and Indiana Wesleyan University. Scott is committed to the Wesleyan youth movement, being involved with youth camps, student and adult leadership development and the Wesleyan youth conventions.
Rev. Kathy George, Director of Children’s Ministries for the Wesleyan denomination, has been a children’s ministry director for 28 years. She served at First Wesleyan Church in Chilllicothe, Ohio for 9 years, and is currently in her 19th year at Cypress Wesleyan in Columbus, Ohio. During her time at Cypress, she has seen the children’s ministry grow from 200 to over 1,000 participants. She loves sharing her passion for Children’s Ministries through her position in The Wesleyan Church.
The Generous Church Training for lead pastors and their spouses will be presented by The Generous Church Organization. Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia say of this event, “The Generous Church team are partners to churches striving to create cultures of generosity by reaching every steward. Creating culture starts with the leaders, and the team brings the vision, strategies, and tools to equip church leaders for this important yet challenging task.”
Back Up Research and Documentation from Lighthouse Trails:
- Dr. Jo Anne Lyon’s book The Ultimate Blessing: My Journey to Discovering God’s Presence is laden with quotes by and references to contemplative and or emergent figures such as Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Soren Kiekergaard, and Jurgen Moltmann.
- The Wesleyan Church website offers a book series on Lectio Divina (see LT article on What is Lectio Divina?)
- The “Consistent Life” Document (“An International Network for Peace, Justice, and Life”) is signed by several contemplative/emergent/New Spirituality figures including: Wendell Berry, Shane Claiborne, Richard Foster, Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, Jean Vanier (trained Rick Warren’s spiritual director),and New Age teacher Wayne Teasdale.
- (2006) Wesleyan Goes Deeper into Contemplative
- List of 50 Top Contemplative-Promoting Organizations Adds 8 Runner Ups
To Lighthouse Trails:
Last December during our Church Council, they (pastor and his wife) announced that we would be studying The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and the Sunday School teachers would be teaching it. As one of the teachers, I said “No, I will not teach it. I don’t believe in it.” One of the women on the Council said, “But we love it.” I told them I didn’t love it, and I would not teach it. She is the woman who teaches most of the Women’s Bible studies and had them read [Don Miller’s] Blue like Jazz. I read a couple of pages and refused to participate. Same thing with a Beth Moore study. She was behind this one also and had talked about “lifeboats” and had a group of the church leaders in her home to meet the man who wrote the book about that concept.
I gave my Sunday School the option of continuing their Bible study or going to the presentation of The Purpose Driven. I explained my objections to it. They chose to follow her, and I told them I would return to continue the class when that was over.
When I returned to the class, we began a study of prophecy in the Bible, starting with Genesis. The Pastor required that I submit my syllabus to his wife for approval.
At that time, I had to leave on a trip for a family matter. Before we returned from that trip, I checked the local newsletter online and saw the announcement that the pastor had cancelled Prayer Meetings and instituted Cottage meetings to teach Richard Foster’s book on Contemplative Prayer. I was heartsick. This was just an ongoing issue with the church. I got home on Tuesday, and by Saturday I was in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer and getting a blood transfusion. I felt strongly, and so did my husband, God was telling us to leave our little Southern Baptist church.
When I was discharged, I sent a letter of resignation to the pastor and others who needed to know and resigned all my responsibilities. I was chairperson for several committees as well as a teacher and worship leader.
We started attending a little Baptist church down the road, and then I found out that the progressives have invaded and pretty much taken over our seminaries and colleges. The pastor of our new church is an awesome young man and well rooted in the Christian faith. I have listened carefully and questioned him, and I am impressed.
I am 70 years old and I have been a Christian for about 66 of those years. I was heart broken over my church. I was disturbed and sad and felt lonely even though my husband was with me on this. I questioned whether or not I needed to stay and keep fighting this or just leave. I had given it my best shot and nobody listened. Several of my class members came to see me while I convalesced but nothing was changing at church. I definitely felt God telling me to leave and not look back.
You have been there for me also as I struggled with the apostasy in the church. God bless you and thank you for myself and my husband.
To Lighthouse Trails:
In March 2015, we were at a small Calvary Chapel in ________________. Our pastor needed to relocate so we were without a regular pastor for many months.
Since we were unable to find a satisfactory Calvary Chapel pastor, we were extremely anxious as to what our next step should be. Someone knew of a C&MA [Christian & Missionary Alliance] District Superintendent who mentioned he could come talk to us as a congregation. When he came, he was extremely nice and personable and exuded confidence and kindness.
We were all extremely excited, and when we looked at their statement of beliefs we were relieved to find they were very close to Calvary Chapels. They soon provided us with a temporary pastor who would take over our congregation until we could be matched with the perfect pastor.
I had been attending this church for over four years and teaching a women’s Bible study for about three years. At different times during the Bible study, I taught on the emergent church and showed videos such as Wide is the Gate 1, 2, and 3 on the dangers of these emergent teachings. A lot of the women alienated themselves from me because I criticized Beth Moore and her teachings and Priscilla Shirer.
At some point, I began to see, through Lighthouse Trails, a few things on the Alliance and its ties with the emergent church and spiritual formation. As I really began to dig, I was horrified. I called four C&MA seminaries to ask them if they offered classes on Spiritual Formation. I was told very enthusiastically, yes they offered many classes in Spiritual Formation. When I called Simpson University, I was even told that if I wanted to dig deeper into that sort of thing, they recommended Bill Johnson’s [Bethel Church] School of the Supernatural.
I approached our three elders with all this information: two of the elders were very dismissive, saying I was just reading “ranting blogs” and that they knew C&MA to be a very reputable denomination. One elder and about four of the women were very interested and seem to be quite alarmed. They did their own research and agreed it was a scary situation.
Then this past Saturday, we all met in one of the women’s houses including the one elder and had a two-hour meeting discussing the situation and that something needed to change, that maybe we should develop a home church or at least take back our church.
Sunday came around and our new pastor called a meeting of our transition board, which mostly consists of myself and the other eight or nine people I had told. He had been informed that I had some problems with the Alliance and the emergent church, so he focused on me and was very kind and very nice and asked me what the problem was. When I told him what I had read, he said that the emergent church was very evil and that Alliance was aware of it and they were fighting it. When I asked him why they were teaching Spiritual Formation in their colleges and seminaries, he said they were educating students about the dangers of it. He then mentioned someone that he was friends with named Timothy Keller. I asked him did he think Timothy Keller was a good teacher and a good pastor, and he said absolutely. I then asked him how he could say that when Pastor Keller was bringing in the emergent church full blown into his Presbyterian Church?
Our new pastor then told me that the best way to fight these kind of things was to be relevant to the culture and to bring all these things in to the church and let the false teachers teach alongside the true teachers of the Gospel and that the Gospel would prevail. He said in a place like New York where Timothy Keller pastors, you have to be relevant to the population; and teaching things like yoga, contemplative prayer, and lectio divina was necessary to bring people in, and then you could present the Gospel, and they would be saved. When I told him that was not biblical that we were told to flee from false teachers and have nothing to do with them, he told me that was my interpretation of the Bible.
The new pastor then told me I was needed in the congregation because I had such an acute sense of discernment that he needed me in the church, Yeah Right! I told him I was sorry that with the name Alliance over the front door, I couldn’t, in good conscience, attend the church. His whole demeanor changed like a mask came over his face, and he said “OK, then I will be addressing your women’s Bible study Wednesday.” When I asked him why, he said, “I don’t want these women just left and abandoned. I told him I would be there Wednesday to say goodbye to finish the class. He then looked at me since I had stood up and looked around at the other people who were there and said, “we have things to discuss—you can go now.” I said OK and I left.
Even though all those people in that living room meeting 28 hours earlier had been against him, by the time he was done talking, they were all either neutral or on his side. Not one person said a word in defense of what I was saying.
All last night, I was disturbed. I was sad, and I felt lonely. Had I done the wrong thing? Was I sure this was what God wanted? I know that sounds silly looking at it from the outside, but it’s just the way it played out in my head. When I tried to call a couple of those people, they didn’t even want to talk to me. And then, I just happened to get in the mail a booklet from Lighthouse Trails that I had ordered about a week earlier called A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer. I knew a lot of the information from previous researching, except where it mentioned Richard Rohr. It rang a bell, so I Googled his name with C&MA. I came up with so much information, and after reading that booklet, it was like the blinds fell off my eyes again. With a rush of relief, I suddenly knew I had done the right thing.
Thank you Lighthouse Trails for being there for the people like us that feel like a speck of sand on a huge beach trying to get our message out to the rest of the sand.
God bless you and again thank you, thank you, thank you.
Information on Richard Rohr:
Excerpt on Richard Rohr from Ray Yungen’s book on Richard Foster:
Without a doubt, Catholic priest Richard Rohr is one of the most prominent living proponents of contemplative prayer today. His organization, The Center for Contemplation and Action, is a bastion for contemplative spirituality. And like our other contemplative prayer “school” masters, he has been embraced by numerous popular evangelical authors. Richard Foster, for example, had Rohr on an advisory board for a 2010 book Foster edited titled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Devotional Classics.22
Rohr has essentially become the new Thomas Merton to an entirely new generation of evangelical Christians. In an interview, Rohr said:
[O]ne of my publishers . . . told me that right now my single biggest demographic is young evangelicals—young evangelicals. Some of my books are rather heavy. I’m just amazed.23
Rohr’s statement is correct about young evangelicals. A case in point is an organization called IF: Gathering. The leaders of IF are dynamic energetic women who hold large conferences geared primarily toward young evangelical women. While these women may be sincere in what they are trying to do, they promote figures such as emergent leaders Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, as well as Richard Rohr. Lighthouse Trails has published a booklet on IF that I encourage you to read to understand the full scope of this growing women’s movement.24
To further understand the significance of this, Rohr is a prominent champion for the idea of a global religion that would unify the world. He says that “religion needs a new language.”25 And that language to bring about this one-world religion is mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer)! Rohr stated:
Right now there is an emergence . . . it’s coming from so many different traditions and sources and parts of the world. Maybe it’s an example of the globalization of spirituality.26
This view ties in perfectly with the emerging church’s perspective that is so popular among younger evangelicals today. It’s no wonder that Richard Rohr and emerging church leaders (such as Brian McLaren) are so supportive of each other and endorse each other’s books.
In echoing Merton and Nouwen, Rohr also advocates the concept of dharmakaya. This is the recurring theme of the “school” of contemplative prayer. Rohr states:
God’s hope for humanity is that one day we will all recognize that the divine dwelling place is all of creation. Christ comes again whenever we see that matter and spirit co-exist. This truly deserves to be called good news.27
To dispel any confusion about what Rohr is saying, he makes it clear in the same paragraph what he means by God dwelling in all creation. He uses a term that one finds throughout contemplative literature, which signifies that Christ is more of an energy than a personal being. Rohr explains the term “cosmic Christ,” telling readers that everything and everyone belongs to God’s kingdom.28 That’s even the name of one of his books, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer.
In his 2011 book, Falling Upward, Rohr implies that we (humanity) are all an “immaculate conception.”29 If these things are true, then there was no need for Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for the sins of mankind. We would not need a Savior because we would already be divine ourselves. In truth, contemplative spirituality is the antithesis of the Gospel. That is why there are countless mystics who claim to know God (or Jesus) but will have nothing to do with the Cross. (for footnotes and source, click here)
Dear Editors at Lighthouse Trails:
I stumbled onto your website while looking for a video from this year’s Alliance Council featuring John Stumbo. In your writings, you largely promote the idea the C&MA is espousing the emergent church, contemplative prayer, spiritual formation blather.
I have never, ever heard this in my church. EVER. So, for you to paint the C&MA with such a wide brush is sensationalistic, to say the least. Perhaps occasionally a misled pastor will go down that road. Such a pastor needs to be brought into line, in my opinion. The colleges that “teach” these courses—are they teaching them to promote them, or are they teaching these classes in a effort to enlighten students as to the evils that can weave their way into ministry? You don’t say which in your writings which I find, again, sensationalistic.
Never once have I heard or read anything from John Stumbo promoting any of this emergent church ‘trend’.
Defend yourself. I’ll be waiting for a reply.
We wish we were being sensationalistic and exaggerating the issue. Unfortunately (and sadly), Christian and Missionary Alliance (and most other evangelical denominations) have been embracing contemplative prayer, Spiritual Formation, and the emerging “new” spirituality for quite some time, and we see no signs of this letting up. A few denominations are just dabbling in it, but most, including C&MA, are well immersed as Lighthouse Trails has been documenting for over 13 years. Does this mean that every church in each of these denominations is involved in this? No, and Lighthouse Trails has always maintained that. But in virtually every case where a denomination is moving in this direction, there is evidence that it is existent in upper leadership.A case in point is C&MA. Just visit the main C&MA website, search through their magazine archives, books they are selling, and so forth, and you will find numerous contemplative/emergent references, such as an article written by the late (d. 2011) C&MA Senior Pastor from Salem, Oregon Donald Bubna titled “The Journey” where Bubna states:
To learn from others on the spiritual journey, I have discovered and devoured the writings of Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey and Thomas Merton on the issue of full surrender to the deeper life.
Nouwen and Merton were both interspiritual Catholic mystics. Yancey is an evangelical contemplative advocate. Bubna was not an “occasional” example of a C&MA pastor who has had such persuasions. And in fact, the Salem C&MA church has been a contemplative influence for many years on Alliance members.
Another example: In a 2013 C&MA magazine article titled “The Lord’s Dream,” the author explains how a C&MA church in Philadelphia, PA is in close relationship with emergent author Shane Claiborne’s church, and on at least one occasion, Claiborne spoke at the C&MA church, filling in for the pastor one Sunday. Claiborne was mentored by and resonates with emergent leader Tony Campolo.
And a third example, Richard Bush, superintendent of the New England District of the U.S. C&MA, wrote an article titled “Transformed,” in which he favorably quotes heavy-weight contemplative leader Ruth Haley Barton. Barton was trained at the New Age sympathizing interspiritual Shalem Prayer Institute in Washington, DC, and she has an organization that teaches thousands of pastors contemplative practices and Spiritual Formation. Clearly, Bush resonates with Barton for him to use her as an example of Christians being “transformed.”
These examples are coming from C&MA leadership. With 500,000 members in 2000 churches, the C&MA is a strong force within evangelical Christianity, and if they end up in the wrong place, they’ll be taking a lot of people with them.
In reference to your comment about C&MA president John Stumbo, Lighthouse Trails has only mentioned him in one article and that was one this past summer where we stated that Stumbo will be sharing a platform with New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet at the Christian Missionary Alliance Mahaffey Family Camp. Please refer to that article for information about the beliefs of Leonard Sweet. Incidentally, John Stumbo was the senior pastor of Salem Missionary Alliance prior to becoming C&MA president. During those years, Salem C&MA was promoting contemplative spirituality (in fact, Ray Yungen talks about this church in his book A Time of Departing).
Listed below are several articles (which all have documentation) regarding Christian & Missionary Alliance that we have posted over the years. Please take the time to study this information, and in so doing, you will see that C&MA has indeed gone down the contemplative/emergent path. As for the college situation, after 13 years of tracking the evangelical colleges and seminaries, over 90% of them are now promoting this same path, and we have documented this time and again as well. As a matter of fact, we have learned that all C&MA colleges and seminaries are promoting this.
While we acknowledge that it is difficult to hear these things about one’s own denomination, for the sake of truth, we hope Christians reading Lighthouse Trails material will take it to heart, do their homework, and see if these things we say are not true.
C&MA Research Articles:
Southern Baptist Leaders Call for a “Great Awakening” in US—But SBC Continues Promoting the Anti-Gospel New Spirituality
In the Summer 2015 Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, an article titled “Great Awakening” states:
Thousands of messengers at the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention knelt in prayer and raised their hands to heaven July 16 as they prayed for revival in the church and a great awakening across the United States. . . . “The only thing that can ultimately reshape America is a spiritual awakening and the next move of God,” Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC, told messengers. “When you look at it historically, there is no great movement of God that is not first preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.
“When was the last time that you gathered with thousands of people on a Tuesday night in the summer and prayed for spiritual awakening in the United States? We have full confidence in God and God alone.”
The article quoted several Southern Baptist pastors attending the summer event who named numerous sins from which Southern Baptists and Christians in general needed to repent: pride, racism, apathy, and so forth. While these are all sins that Christians do need to repent of if they are guilty of them, there was no mention of one sin that is having detrimental effects within SBC and the Christian church at large. We are referring to the Southern Baptist’s sinful embracing of the “new” anti-Gospel spirituality, which includes occultic prayer practices (contemplative) and emergent/social justice/anti-Christianity ideologies. We present two pieces of evidence to show both of these are true statements. First, this short Letter from the Editor that we received this month:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I attend (won’t join) a Southern Baptist church wherein most of the women are heavily involved with Sarah Young’s, Jesus Calling. I shared with the pastor articles confirming this is not a Christian book, but he doesn’t acknowledge my e-mails or the material that I personally handed to him. People that are so-called Christians have verbally attacked me because I said this book is “New Age.” I imagine you get a lot of unfavorable comments as well. J.
Jesus Calling is a book who’s author was inspired by the New Age channelled book God Calling. If you have not researched Jesus Calling, we recommend you read Warren B. Smith’s book “Another Jesus” Calling or his article/booklet The New Age Implications of Jesus Calling.
The second piece of evidence is with LifeWay Resources (the SBC resource arm), which continues to present to Southern Baptist members a deluge of contemplative/emerging/New Spirituality promoting books. Here is a short list of the many examples that are on the LifeWay Resources website:
2. Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen (NOW REMOVED – 4/16)
3. 15 items by or about Brennan Manning (MOST NOW REMOVED – 4/16)
4. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas (instructs, repeat a word for 20 minutes)
5. Books by Dan Allender (promoter of Brian McLaren and the emerging church)
8. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (who danced violently like a mad man when in the silence)
9. Books by Walter Brueggemann (who loved Alan Jones’ book Reimagining Christianity which denies the atonement)
10. How to Stay Christian in College by Catholic convert J. Budziszewski (Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa High School used this book too – how funny to use a book written by a man who changed from Christianity to Catholicism!)
13. At least 1 book that includes as an author heavy weight emergent Tony Campolo ( http://www.lifeway.com/Product/taking-it-to-the-streets-P005717324 )
16. A book called Mustard Seeds, which promotes goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd
17. Incidentally, also carries David Jeremiah’s book, Life Wide Open, in which he too promotes Sue Monk Kidd
21. God Calling, the New Age channeled book that inspired Sarah Young to write Jesus Calling. (NOW REMOVED – 4/16)
The books and authors listed above represent, promote, or/and endorse an occultic mystical New Age spirituality that has sorely infiltrated the Christian church. This is not a complete list. To do that, it would take us hours because LifeWay Resources carries an almost countless number of contemplative and/or emergent books. If you want to see for yourself, use our Directory of Authors by Chris Lawson and compare some of the names on that list with the authors being carried on LifeWay. And you may type in any of the names above into our blog search engine and our research site and get plenty of information showing the spiritual propensities of these authors.
We find it ironic (and tragic) that Southern Baptist Convention pastors say they want a “Great Awakening” when the leaders of this denomination are falling headlong into great spiritual deception and taking millions of Baptists with them. Several years ago, LifeWay Resources removed books by Catholic mystics such as Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, and Thomas Merton after Lighthouse Trails and other ministries brought it to their attention that these authors’ writings were not compatible with biblical Christianity. In addition, somewhere along the line, they removed books by Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. But what good did that do when the authors they continue to sell to their readers, while sounding more Christian than McLaren and Bell, are really “preaching” the same contemplative/emergent/New Spirituality message.
If you are not sure just what the contemplative/emergent/”New” Spirituality message is, please research this out until you fully understand the serious implications.
And, if you live near a LifeWay Store, perhaps you should call and ask why they are carrying Jesus Calling and other books that are not biblically sound. (Store locator) By the way, the number of LifeWay stores is growing. For instance, in 2013, LifeWay purchased Berean Christian Stores giving LifeWay 17 more stores.
If you are Southern Baptist, or if you attend a SBC church, isn’t it time to challenge your leaders and pastors to repent of the sin that will help lead the church into a great apostasy rather than a great awakening?!
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
wo American colleges that identify as Mennonite institutions have announced changes to their hiring policy to now allow the employment of homosexuals who have “wed” their partners.
Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia and Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana announced the alterations on Monday, while claiming to still hold to the biblical principles as Christian schools.
EMU’s decision followed a two-year “listening process” to “review current hiring policies and practices with respect to individuals in same-sex relationships.” As previously reported, in 2013, the university outlined that it would open up a time of dialogue between students, faculty and administration to understand the level of interest in allowing a policy change that would permit university employees to be in homosexual relationships. . . .
Goshen College made similar statements, remarking that there is a “diversity” of opinions on whether or not biblical law prohibits sexuality between those of the same gender. Click here to continue reading.