The Desiring God 2006 National Conference, to be held on September 29th, will be addressing “the Supremacy of Christ in a postmodern world.” According to John Piper, founder of the Desiring God ministries, speakers for the national conference are “eager to speak on behalf of the risen Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ.” However, one of the speakers is Mark Driscoll (of Mars Hill Church), who is considered to be one of the emerging church leaders. While Driscoll has recently stated that he has distanced himself from certain Emergent leaders (McLaren, Jones, etc.), in a recent Lighthouse Trails article, documentation shows that Driscoll is promoting contemplative spirituality. There should be, therefore, great concern that John Piper is including Driscoll in a conference that is addressing post-modernism in a critical light. Contemplative spirituality (i.e., New Age mysticism)is the vehicle that the postmodern world is using to reach their objectives. By including a pro-contemplative speaker at this conference will confuse participants at best and dangerously mislead them spiritually at worst. Rather than bringing Mark Driscoll in as a speaker, his spiritual sympathies towards contemplative should be exposed, and people should be warned.
According to the Acts 29 Network (Driscoll’s ministry)recommended reading list of “worthy literature” Mark Driscoll recommends books by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and a book called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Other books on the list include those by panentheist St. John of the Cross, and a collection of books about Celtic Spirituality (i.e., contemplative spirituality) as well as books by Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Eugene Peterson, and Larry Crabb (AACC). Act 29’s recommendation of Thomas Merton (who said he was impregnated with Sufism: Islamic mysticism)is perhaps the most telling of all. One of the books Driscoll recommends by Merton is Wisdom of the Desert (referring to the desert fathers). Lighthouse Trails Research has contacted Acts 29 in the recent past and told them about these recommended resources and their dangers. As we stated in our previous article:
For Driscoll to say he has distanced himself from some aspects of the emerging church (or the Emergent leaders) but then advocate Merton and this line up of other avid mystics is an oxymoron.
The point is, Mark Driscoll is promoting contemplative spirituality, and for someone to say they don’t promote the emerging church but then promote contemplative is faulty thinking because the latter is so much worse – it is contemplative spirituality that makes the emerging church so heretical. Remember, the premise of contemplative is that all paths lead to God and God is within all creation.
We hope and pray that Mark Driscoll will remove these contemplative recommendations from his website and make a public statement saying that contemplative spirituality is an anti-biblical belief system that he rejects. Otherwise, we pray that John Piper will find someone else to speak at his upcoming conference.
Acts 29 is also recommending various emerging/contemplative organizations, networkds and churches that should also be removed from his site if Driscoll is to be considered as someone who is against the emerging church and contemplative spirituality.