Posts Tagged ‘billy graham’

Luis Palau’s Son (President of the Luis Palau Association) Teams Up With Richard Foster’s Renovare

Richard Foster’s founding contemplative organization, Renovare, has announced their upcoming (June 2018) celebration of the 40th anniversary of Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline. Kevin Palau, son of the world-wide known evangelist Luis Palau and president of the Luis Palau Association, is listed on the Renovare website as one of the speakers for the June 2018 event.

One question arises in seeing Renovare’s invitation of Palau (given the staunch stand that Renovare takes toward all things contemplative)—what is it about Palau that interests Foster and Renovare enough to include him in a big anniversary celebration of contemplative prayer? We believe it can be only one of two things: either, they want him because he resonates with them and can “enhance” their event with similar beliefs, or, they want him because including someone from a highly respected ministry will lend credibility to Renovare (after all, if people trust Luis Palau, as tens of thousands do, then they can trust his son, they reason, and therefore can trust anyone his son teams up with). And, of course, the answer to that question could be both of those elements.

Perhaps we do not know exactly why Renovare has been drawn to Kevin Palau, but we do have some facts that certainly would help explain why Kevin Palau would fit in with a Renovare conference.

Luis Palau

For instance, in our 2016 article titled “Dress Rehearsal for a False Revival? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for ‘Together 2016’ in Washington, DC,” we pointed out that Luis Palau joined several other popular evangelical leaders at an event in Washington, DC called Together 2016 wherein Pope Francis was also one of the speakers. In 2013, in our article “Evangelical Leaders Luis Palau and Rick Warren Salute Pope Francis – What Are the Implications?,” we quoted Palau as saying, in reference to the then newly elected pope, “I think that’s the emphasis he [Pope Francis] is going to bring to the papacy: That the Gospel is primary, that we must emphasize it and especially with youth.”  Such a statement makes it clear that Luis Palau does not understand what the “Catholic” gospel is about, that it is not a gospel of biblical salvation. One journalist in our article stated: “Evangelist Luis Palau, who knows and has prayed together with Pope Francis on several occasions, called the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics a friend of evangelicals who is respectful of all sides of Christianity.” A 2010 article titled “TRAVESTY at LIFEST – PARENTS: Don’t Send Your Kids – Radical-Emergent/Liberal Jim Wallis to Speak at Lifest (What is Luis Palau Doing There?),” shows yet another  example of Luis Palau’s sharing platforms with unbiblical figures (see article on Jim Wallis).

Pointing out these affinities and associations of Kevin Palau’s father may not tell us where Kevin P. stands, but it does show us that his father has shown poor discernment in the past, and at the very least has passed on the habit of associating with biblically unscrupulous teachers to his son.

What can show us something of Kevin Palau’s propensities is his 2015 book Unlikely. The book is riddled with the emergent ideas of “ecumenism,” “unity” and “common ground” and a  foreword written by Portland, Oregon’s emergent pastor from Imago Dei Community. Palau makes it clear in his book that his view of biblical Christianity includes the Catholic Church and that to think any other way is anti-biblical. That is, to not be ecumenical and emphasize unity and common ground is unloving and un-Christ-like.

While the evangelistic ministries of Billy Graham and Luis Palau have undoubtedly helped to lead countless people to Christ, their ecumenical view toward the Catholic Church has helped to lead to our present state where most Christians cannot even see that the Catholic view of salvation is not the biblical view of salvation, and the two cannot be reconciled (see article on the two views).

The point of this article is not to discredit any fruit Luis Palau has had in the past in bringing people to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. But rather it is to warn that an organization with a significant international platform could lead tens of thousands right into the arms of full apostasy if it is going to enjoin itself with the likes of Renovare. The contemplative prayer movement (the signature belief system of Renovare) bypasses the Cross and brings practitioners into a mystical panentheistic spirituality, and we doubt Luis Palau wants that for the legacy he leaves behind when he is gone.

Letter to the Editor: Concerns About Erwin Lutzer

LTRP Note: Christian leaders are giving a pass to Roman Catholicism and the Jesuits. After reading this letter to the editor, we cannot help but wonder how many other Christian leaders have attended Jesuit schools and could this be a reason so many of them are accepting of contemplative spirituality and Catholicism in general? One thing is for sure, popular Christian leaders who have attended Jesuit schools and who promote  contemplative figures are influencing others to do the same.

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I wanted to let you know that I happened to listen to an online YouTube message from Erwin Lutzer yesterday that was an overview of his life.1 Well, I was shocked to hear him say he went to Loyola University!!!! [see YouTube link below; also: https://logoi.org/authors/erwin-lutzer/?___store=en]. It was after his graduation from Dallas Seminary, but still, he did not offer an apology for not knowing he should stay out of Catholicism back when he was young, no, he said it just as if it was a good university to go to!!! I was stunned, as I had always thought Moody Bible was separate from Catholicism, and the very name of Loyola screams Jesuit Catholicism, the worst of the worst of Catholicism! Anyway, I thought it might be worth noting in your articles about how Moody Bible Institute is going Contemplative, and it may help you to maybe understand why his response to your warning e-mails to him was to love all of the brethren. That’s because he obviously feels the Catholics are our brethren. Also if you listen to the link I’ve provided below with that message, you will hear him say that Billy Graham was his hero when he was young, and he still brags about getting 20 minutes of private time with the famous preacher, (at which I said under my breath, every important person in the world gets 20 minutes with Billy Graham, whether they be Democrat or Republican, immoral or moral, Communist or the Pope, Billy Graham has met with and approved of all of them as God’s children.) and so Erwin Lutzer has obviously ignored the fact that Billy Graham sent people back to their Catholic churches after they made a confession for Christ at his crusades and that he has been [one of] the most instrumental preacher in getting the ecumenical movement on its fast path.

Thank you for standing for truth and for being a resource for us all who are wondering “what is happening to our preachers today and the institutions we trusted such as Moody Bible?” Your articles gave me the support I needed to realize I am not alone in being disturbed about Erwin Lutzer’s stance on things and that I need to stick with older preachers who were separate from Catholicism.

God bless,

L.M.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROxWNJF6GRg

 

Evangelical Church Takes Another Big Step Toward Rome—This Time? Franklin Graham

Editor’s Note: As we continue on with our coverage regarding evangelical leaders and their ecumenical moves toward Roman Catholicism, we once again wish to state that we bear no animosity toward individual Catholics, but we are compelled to challenge these leaders on their compromise of the Christian faith according to Scripture.


As Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on over the past number of months, evangelical church leaders are coming out of the woodwork like never before in showing their willingness to unite with and give credibility to the Catholic Church.

In March of this year, we posted Roger Oakland’s report on charismatic leader Kenneth Copeland’s open embracing of the Roman Catholic church (see “The Unification of Hyper-Charismatics and the Catholic Church”). In that article, Oakland stated:

[H]ow close we are to the unification of Rome with “Charismatic evangelicals” and eventually all religions. This is something that Understand The Times has been predicting for some years as the present Pope Francis and the last two Popes, Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul, have been active in promoting the New Evangelization.

The purpose of the New Evangelization is to promote the Roman Catholic gospel by reaching out to all religions as well as the separated brethren and introducing them to the Eucharistic Christ.

Oakland’s report includes a video clip of Kenneth Copeland and Tony Palmer (an evangelical “evangelist” for the Catholic Church who was recently killed in a motorcycle accident). This video is worth watching and will help show how far the evangelical church has gone on the road to Rome. In the video, Palmer who was speaking at Copeland’s church told the congregation that he was coming in “the spirit of Elijah” similar to that of John the Baptist. As you watch this video, you will see that the “spirit” in which Palmer was coming was what he called “reconciliation” (meaning Protestants reconciling with the “Mother” church). Incidentally, Catholic priest Henri Nouwen put much emphasis on this type of “reconciliation,” and as Ray Yungen showed in A Time of Departing, Nouwen used the means of contemplative mysticism to remove the walls between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism.

Also in March, we posted a short piece titled “A Picture Says a Thousand Words,” which showed a banner from Ambrose University that stated “Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s Mission Together” (just one of many examples where Christian colleges are showing an affinity with Roman Catholicism.

Back in February of this year, we posted “A Word of Caution: Ecumenical-Backed Movie, “Son of God,” May Send Subtle New Age/Roman Catholic Messages.”  We issued this warning about the Son of God movie because of the New Age/Roman Catholic influence that the producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey would have on the making of the film. In fact, Downey stated clearly that her intention in making the movie was to “bring people together” (See, http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/02/27/us/ap-us-film-son-of-god.html?ref=news&_r=1).   We know that means to break down the barriers between Christianity and Catholicism. And yet, many popular evangelical leaders gave raving endorsements of the film (e.g., Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, Pat Robertson, Luis Palau, and others).

Took place at Moody Bible Institute

Last December, Moody Bible Institute showed its favor toward Rome, which you can read about in our article “Embracing Contemplative Shows Ill Effects at Moody Bible Institute in Ecumenical “Road to Rome” Event.” This photo to the left shows some of those who were involved with the event. While it was a student-led event, a professor from Moody helped to moderate it (interesting because he is a convert from Catholicism to Protestantism).

Then in May of this year, we posted Roger Oakland’s 5-part series on Rick Warren’s interview on a Catholic television network where Warren admitted: he is influenced by Catholic mystics, calls Pope Francis “our Pope,” and tells how he and his wife Kay turn to Catholic ceremonies for comfort and encouragement.

Most recently, in August of this year, we posted “Is Beth Moore’s “Spiritual Awakening” Taking the Evangelical Church Toward Rome?” making a number of different points to show that Beth Moore is showing more and more signs of heading toward Rome including a video where she illustrates on stage that she considers Roman Catholicism on par with Protestant Christianity. That article also showed James Robison’s strong propensity toward Roman Catholicism.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM

Franklin Graham

Now, Lighthouse Trails has learned that at the August 15-17 2014  gathering called “Three Rivers Festival of Hope” in Pittsburgh, PA, Franklin Graham (who led and organized the event) brought in Catholic Bishop David Zubik to give the opening prayer on stage with the large audience. During the bishop’s prayer, he acknowledged his belief that Protestants and Catholics are all part of the same church. While Graham’s public stand against homosexual marriage and his work to help the poor and needy is commendable, his giving a thumbs up to Roman Catholicism is moving the church closer and closer to complete apostasy. While we know that Graham’s father, Billy Graham, allowed Catholic counselors at his own crusade meetings (which sadly set a precedent), it’s a big jump to give a Catholic priest the platform at an evangelical event to lead in an ecumenical prayer that puts Catholicism on par with Protestant Christianity.

In a newspaper article advertising the Franklin Graham event, it states:

Catholic Bishop David Zubik

Bishop David Zubik said the festival dovetails with calls by recent popes to a “new evangelization,” bringing back cradle Catholics who drifted or became estranged from the faith.

“We felt as long as there was a Catholic component to this particular crusade, we wanted to be a part of it,” Bishop Zubik said.

Those who respond to Rev. Graham’s invitation to make a decision for Christ, and who identify as Catholic, will be given the opportunity to go to Epiphany Church — adjacent to the Consol Energy Center — for the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession.

“We’re right next door,” Bishop Zubik said.

Bishop Zubik said Catholics don’t share all of Rev. Graham’s controversial political statements but added: “That’s not what this is all about. The whole point is to bring people back to Jesus.” (source)

The question we have at Lighthouse Trails is, which Jesus is Franklin Graham sending these people to when he sends them to the Catholic Church for the sacrament? We believe the answer to that is “another” Jesus as the Bible warns will happen (2 Corinthians 11:4).

According to one article, nearly 26,000 people showed up to the Graham revival meeting with around 1700 coming forth to commit or recommit their lives to Jesus.

In an article written by Bishop Zubik titled “The Church Evangelizing!,” Zubik expresses his support for the papacy’s “New Evangelization” program that Roger Oakland has warned about in his books Another Jesus: the new evangelization and the eucharist christ and Faith Undone. In the article by Zubik, he states: “As Catholics, we invite others ‘to come to Jesus’ not only at events in stadiums, but to come to Him in the sacraments, most especially the Eucharist” (p. 8). Ironically, the Catholic Church as a whole holds the official position of “closed communion,” which means that only converts to Catholicism can legitimately partake in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Many evangelicals do not understand what the Catholic church teaches about the “sacraments” and the “Eucharist.” They do not realize that the Catholic belief is that Jesus Christ is actually in the wafer and his blood in the wine, and this “transubstantiation” takes place only when a Catholic priest prays over the bread and the wine. This continual re-crucifying of Christ is the benchmark of Catholic Church doctrine to the point of martyring those who would not accept that Jesus Christ was in a wafer (see Foxe’s story about a woman who was burned at the stake for refusing to accept the Catholic belief on the Eucharist.)

This woman, Mrs. Prest, gave up her life because she understood that the Catholic “Gospel” is a religion of works based on participation in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. According to Catholic doctrine, salvation is never certain because it is based on earning something that was meant to be free as opposed to the clear statement of the Bible that we can have full assurance of salvation in that it is based on grace through faith alone in the perfect, one-time sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The Christian Gospel cannot be reconciled with the Sacrament of the Eucharist, but many are deceived into thinking they are one and the same thing merely because they are both focused on the Cross. But a gift that is earned is no longer a gift; in short, the free gift of salvation has been rendered useless by turning it back into a system of works. If you have not read Roger Oakland’s article and booklet The New Evangelization From Rome: Finding the True Jesus Christ, we urge you to do so as it lays out the Bible Gospel versus the Catholic “Gospel.”

The man with the Mary statue at the Franklin Graham crusade

The man with the Mary statue at the Franklin Graham crusade

Another aspect of the Catholic “Gospel” that shouldn’t be ignored can be seen on an interesting video (see video) on YouTube of a man who is being interviewed who tried to go into the Franklin Graham meeting but was denied access because he was carrying a statue of Mary, and security guards would not allow him to bring the statue in. What is worth noting is that this Catholic man states that the way to truly know God or Jesus is through Mary and that she will actually even usher in world peace and the second coming of Christ.

Frankly, what is the point of keeping a statue of Mary out of the Graham crusade but allowing a Catholic bishop to give the opening prayer? Perhaps Franklin Graham does not realize that embracing Catholicism cannot be a smorgasbord where you pick and choose which elements you want. Catholicism has a whole plethora of anathemas for those who differ on various  unscriptural doctrinal points.

Lest you think that the Catholic Church’s “New Evangelization” program is only trying to reach “backslidden” Catholics, we need to ask the question, Who is the Catholic Church’s “New Evangelization” program trying to reach? The answer: Everyone! As Bishop Zubik states in his article: “Pope Francis has made it clear that our witness [for the Catholic Church] must be to and for everyone—to each other as fellow Catholics, active or not, as well as to other Christians, to non-Christians and to nonbelievers.”

CONCLUSION

While we believe that at least part of the motivation for these evangelical leaders to join forces with the Catholic church is politically and morally motivated to “help bring America back to God,” we believe this unifying for the sake of political and moral issues is going to backfire on the evangelical church as the Catholic papacy and leadership (including the Jesuits) are using these issues to “bring back the lost brethren to the Mother Church.” And the question that must be asked is, if this united ecumenical body of evangelicals and Catholics is successful in bringing in a new White House administration that holds to traditional moral values, will the compromise of Christian faith by evangelicals be able to be reversed and separation of the two different belief systems be restored? Not likely considering the level of spiritual deception the evangelical church is at today. In essence, a paradigm shift has already taken place. And what will happen if the ecumenical evangelical/Catholic effort is unsuccessful in bringing in a morally conservative White House administration in the next election in 2016? We can be sure that the now-very-blurred lines that have in the past distinguished evangelical Christianity from other belief systems will erode all together because unrepentant compromise never produces good fruit but only leads to further compromise. Rather, the foothold that Satan presently has will throw the door wide open for the making of a totally corrupt and apostate church.

For those evangelical/Protestants who believe we have much in common with the Catholic Church and can unify with it, consider these statements, which Warren B. Smith cited in his book “Another Jesus” Calling. They are taken from the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official source for all Roman Catholic doctrine today. After reading these quotes, can any Bible-believing Christian say they share the same faith as Roman Catholicism?:

“Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ.” (#795)

“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” (#460)

“The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” (#460)

Finally, what is it that we as Christians should hope for? For those who hope to see the church at large turn around from the apostasy that is upon her, there will be great disappointment. The Bible indicates such a falling away is going to happen. Our purpose should not be to hope that all of this will turn around but rather that those who have ears to hear and eyes to see will comprehend the times in which we live and remain steadfast in the faith and to the truth of the Gospel, which God has committed to us.

For biblical believers in Jesus Christ who see this taking place and refuse to become part of this apostasy, they will find themselves on the outside looking in, but when that day comes (and it’s not far off), it will be the safest place to be.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.(1 Corinthians 15:58)

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Larry Crabb to Join Richard Foster’s Renovare Contemplative Conference – Christian Leaders Continue to Promote Crabb

I’ve practiced centering prayer. I’ve contemplatively prayed. I’ve prayed liturgically . . . I’ve benefited from each, and I still do. In ways you’ll see, elements of each style are still with me.Larry Crabb in The Papa Prayer, p.9

I’m glad that as a conservative evangelical who still believes in biblical inerrancy and penal substitution, I’ve gotten over my Catholic phobia, and I’ve been studying contemplative prayer, practicing lectio divina, valuing monastic retreats, and worshipping through ancient liturgy. I appreciate Bernard of Clairvaux’s provocative insights. I’m drawn to Brother Lawrence’s profoundly simple ways to practice God’s presence. I’m intrigued and enticed by Julian of Norwich’s mysterious appearings of Jesus.—Larry Crabb, Real Church, p. 41

I generally read books to stimulate my mind, but I read this one [The Papa Prayer] for my soul, and it has left an imprint that I believe will be with me for the rest of my life. In these pages you will be introduced to a new way of praying that will, I guarantee, change the way you think about prayer; and, best of all, you will actually be motivated to pray continually, joyfully, and purposefully. This is a book for all of us who want to pray more but don’t; for all of us who have been discouraged because our prayers have not been answered, and for those of us whose priorities in praying need to be redirected. It is also for those who have read many books on prayer and think they need not read another one! Read these pages and let God change your perspective and your heart.—Erwin Lutzer, from The Papa Prayer endorsement pages

On April 3rd, Richard Foster’s Renovare organization will be presenting the Formation for Whole Life conference in Houston, Texas.

According to several sources, including Rick Warren,1 Christianity Today,2 and Lighthouse Trails, Richard Foster is a key player in the contemplative prayer movement (aka: Spiritual Formation movement). Speakers at this year’s Renovare conference include contemplative figures Ruth Haley Barton,3 Mark Scandrette,4 Richard Foster, and Kyle Strobel.5 Joining the team of speakers will be Larry Crabb, a popular evangelical author and speaker, who years ago switched from a psychology focus to a focus on Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative prayer).6

While it is not surprising to see Larry Crabb sharing a platform with other contemplatives, what is troubling is that Crabb continues to receive acceptance by Christian leaders. In 2011, Crabb spoke to the student body at  Liberty University. In 2012 and 2013, he spoke at the Billy Graham Training Center. In 2012, he was invited to Moody Church (the church once pastored by Harry Ironside and D.L. Moody, now pastored by Erwin Lutzer)—7 (click here to see video of that Sunday).

During that 2012 “sermon” by Larry Crabb at Moody Church, Crabb introduced Jesus as more of an example or model to us (one that we can be like) than a Savior to us. This is the crux of the contemplative/emerging message. This is where Spiritual Formation comes in. Since to be truly Christ-like is not possible without Christ in us (born-again), the contemplatives turn to the disciplines (with the emphasis on the mystical), and this gives them the illusion of being close to God (the mystical experience produces this euphoric feeling). Crabb’s conclusion was that we need to search for our own “center[s].” His psychology-filled, Scripture-starving sermon at Moody did not point to Jesus Christ and His magnificence but rather pointed to how the attributes of God can make us a great community having great relationships. This is the focus of the emergent church where personal salvation is set aside for great relationships and community social justice.

Lighthouse Trails editors spoke with Erwin Lutzer a number of years ago expressing concern about his endorsement in Larry Crabb’s book, The Papa Prayer, where Crabb praised the role that “centering prayer” (i.e., mantra-type meditation) had in his life. In that phone conversation, Lutzer asked us to please remember to love all the brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. He felt this was more important than criticizing others and naming names, and he said that we (Lighthouse Trails) may not really be qualified to identify spiritual deception within the church.8

In a 2012 article Lighthouse Trails wrote regarding Larry Crabb’s spiritual affinities, we stated:

Perhaps one of the most sure-tell indicators of where Larry Crabb’s spiritual sympathies lie and why he’s not a good match for Dwight L. Moody’s church can be found in a book Crabb wrote the foreword to. The book, Sacred Companions (written by David Benner), heartily recommends a plethora of contemplative mystics: Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, Basil Pennington, Richard Foster, John of the Cross, Gerald May, John Main, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Alan Jones and several others. Many of these are panentheistic (God is in all), universalist (all are saved), and interspiritual (all paths lead to God). Ray Yungen talked about Benner’s book in the first edition of A Time of Departing. Yungen stated:

“[C]ontemplative prayer stands on the threshold of exploding worldwide. Dr. Larry Crabb . . . has written the foreword to a book [Spiritual Companions] that expounds on the future of spiritual direction in the evangelical church. . . . It is safe to assume then that we are looking at a contemplative approach. With that in mind, Dr. Crabb predicted [in Sacred Companions]: ‘The spiritual climate is ripe. Jesus seekers across the world are being prepared to abandon the old way of the written code for the new way of the Spirit.’” (ATOD, 1st ed., p. 137)

As Lighthouse Trails has often said, when Christian pastors and leaders endorse or share platforms with those who are teaching serious heresy (contemplative negates the Gospel itself with panentheistic/universalisitic/interspiritual roots),9 this not only sends a confusing message to the body of Christ, it actually puts many in harm’s way. Isn’t it time for Christian leaders who name the name of Jesus Christ to stop promoting contemplative advocates?

renovare-2014-crabbEndnotes:

1. In The Purpose Driven Church (pp. 126-126), Rick Warren calls the Spiritual Formation movement a “valid message for the church” that has “given the body of Christ a wake-up call.” He identifies Richard Foster and Dallas Willard as key players in the SF movement.See chapter 8 of A Time of Departing for this documentation: http://www.lighthousetrails.com/atodch8.pdf.

2. In a 2008 Christianity Today article titled  “The Future Lies in the Past,” Richard Foster is credited with the “birth of the ancient-future movement” (i.e, contemplative/Spiritual Formation movement): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/22.22.html.

3. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=11607.

4. Mark Scandrette is addressed in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1614.

5. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6403.

6. Christianity Today, “A Shrink Gets Stretched.”

7. “The Moody Church of Chicago Welcomes Contemplative Advocate Larry Crabb As Guest Speaker”

8. “Trusted Evangelical Leaders Endorse The Papa Prayer by Larry Crabb!”

Renovare To Hold Contemplative Retreat at the Billy Graham Training Center – A Big Green Light For Contemplative Prayer

The Billy Graham Training Center in NC

This coming October contemplative pioneer, Richard Foster’s Renovare team will hold their Life With God Retreat at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove. Those who are familiar with the infrastructure of Richard Foster’s spirituality will understand that the teachings that are represented at Renovare do not line up with traditional evangelical teachings. While the doctrinal statements on paper between Renovare and many evangelical/Protestant churches may look similar, what is believed, taught, and emphasized in reality is much different as Lighthouse Trails has documented for 11 years now. The model of spirituality that Richard Foster and Renovare have drawn from is developed by Catholic monks who because of their mystical practices embrace panentheism (God is in all people and all  things) and interspirituality (all religions lead to God at the mystical level).

We contacted the Billy Graham Training Center on June 24th about the upcoming Renovare Retreat. We were told that this is not one of their own retreats that they put on but is one where they lease the facilities out. We asked if just any group could lease the facilities regardless of belief, and we were told, no, the group must agree with their doctrinal statement and their basic overall beliefs. We informed the man with whom we spoke at the Cove that Renovare promotes an eastern-style meditation technique (contemplative prayer) and ardently promotes those with a panentheistic/interspiritual belief system that is not consistent with the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For well researched accurate documentation on why we say that Renovare does not line up with biblical Christianity, please read A Time of Departing or some of the articles below. If you do, you will learn that since 1978, when Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline came out, Foster has been a prolific leader in bringing into the church the Spiritual Formation movement. Spiritual Formation is the vehicle through which contemplative prayer enters.

In Spiritual Formation, it is taught that one can become more Christ-like by practicing the “spiritual disciplines.”  The emphasis is not placed on being born again through a relationship with Jesus Christ but rather on practicing these disciplines. Foster stated in Celebration of Discipline (and in other places such as the Be Still DVD) that anyone can practice the spiritual disciplines and become more Christ-like – being a Christian is not mandatory.  Because one cannot truly become more Christ-like without Jesus Christ living inside as Lord and Savior, practicing disciplines such as fasting, prayer, and doing good works would begin to cause much frustration to the practitioner. Thus, the need for contemplative meditation, which is really the energy that gives Spiritual Formation its “life.”

However, contemplative meditation is basically no different (except that Hindu mantras aren’t repeated – other words like Abba, Father, Jesus are)  than eastern meditation. A word or phrase is repeated for perhaps 20 minutes (as many contemplative suggest), and this puts the person into a state contemplatives call “the silence.” It is essentially a putting the mind into neutral. It is not the same as finding a quiet serene place to read the Word, pray, and ponder the things of God. It is not an external quietness – it is an internal shutting down all thoughts. What’s wrong with that, some may ask. We believe that the realm entered in this altered silent state is an occultic realm. If you read our material, you will see where we have been able to prove this is true. One of the most outstanding pieces of evidence is that those who practice contemplative meditation, in time, begin to change their spiritual outlooks to resemble those of mystics (i.e., panentheistic, interspiritual, universalistic). You can read more about this in the articles below.

It’s no minor thing that Richard Foster’s Renovare is going to be holding a retreat at the Billy Graham Training Center. While we know there are legitimate concerns about some things Billy Graham has said or done over the years, nevertheless, he represents traditional evangelical Christianity to millions and millions of people. In fact, over the last fifty or so years, Graham has been the personification of evangelical Christianity (he even founded the magazine, Christianity Today). And as far as we know, he has never told people to go into the silence or practice a mantra-like style of prayer to reach God. So to allow Renovare to come to that retreat center is to give a big green light to the contemplative prayer movement from probably the most well-known and long-standing leader in the evangelical church today.

If you would like to contact the Billy Graham Training Center to voice your concerns, here is their contact information:

Billy Graham Training Center
P.O. Box 19223
Asheville, NC 28815

Phone & Fax Numbers

Toll Free: 800-950-2092
Phone: 828-298-2092
Fax: 828-298-9035

 

Research Information:

Celebration of Discipline – 35 Years of Influence! – Does Your Pastor Have a Copy?

Will Assemblies of God Leaders Ignore Contemplative Evidence?

A Time of Departing – A Decade of Warning About Contemplative Spirituality

Richard Foster’s Renovare Turns to Panentheist Mystic Richard Rohr and Emerging Darling Phyllis Tickle For New Book Project

 


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