Posts Tagged ‘brad jersak’

In Case You Still Aren’t Sure About The Shack and Its Author . . .

In case you still aren’t sure about William Paul Young and his book The Shack—in case you still have some doubts as to whether Young is really of a New Age/New Spirituality persuasion—in case after reading articles at Lighthouse Trails revealing Young’s anti-biblical views on atonement and the Cross—and in case after reading Warren B. Smith’s booklet The Shack and Its New Age Leaven that documents Young’s affinity with New Age thinking, then perhaps his recently posted “Twenty Books Everyone Should Read” list on Young’s blog will convince you that The Shack or any of Young’s writings should not be sitting on the shelves of Christian bookstores and North American pastors’ offices and should never have become a New York Times best-seller having found itself there through primarily Christian readers (not to mention the big plug it received from endorsements by Eugene Peterson [The Message] and Calvary Chapel speaker Gayle Erwin. You can see the entire list of Young’s recommended books by clicking here. Below we are giving you a partial list of the authors whom William P. Young recommends. After looking at this list, you decide for yourself.

1. Andrew Marin’s book Love is an Orientation (foreword by atonement denier Brian McLaren): A treatise on how to fully integrate the practicing homosexual “community” into the Christian church.

2. The Shack Revisited by C Baxter Kruger, a book advertising the “virtues” of The Shack with a Suggestions for Further Study at the back that is a who’s who of emerging authors.

3. Mystic Frederick Buechner’s book The Yellow Leaves

4. Brian D. McLaren’s, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: McLaren is one the foremost prolific leaders of the panentheistic, interspiritual emerging church, which is still very much active today, influencing vast numbers of young evangelicals.

5. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by emerging church hero N.T. Wright

6. Her Gates will Never be Shut: Hope, Hell, and the New Jerusalem by contemplative proponent Brad Jersak (author of Can You Hear Me?)

7. Jean Vanier’s book Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John: Roger Oakland wrote about Jean Vanier in his article “Rick Warren, Jean Vanier, And The New Evangelization.” Oakland’s article states:

Vanier is a contemplative mystic who promotes interspiritual and interfaith beliefs, calling the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi “one of the greatest prophets of our times”[3] and “a man sent by God.”[4] In the book Essential Writings, Vanier talks about “opening doors to other religions” and helping people develop their own faiths be it Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam.[5]  The book also describes how Vanier read Thomas Merton and practiced and was influenced by the spiritual exercises of the Jesuit founder and mystic St. Ignatius.

8. Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer: As we have documented for over 13 years, Henri Nouwen was a Catholic contemplative  mystic and interspiritualist.

9.  William P. Young recommends reading material by the following three Catholic mystics and panentheists: Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, and Richard Rohr.

One of the things that most of these authors have in common is their contemplative and interspiritual propensities. Given the fact that William P. Young, in the past, denied the substitutionary atonement, we can see why he is drawn to these authors. But what we can’t understand is how so many professing Christians are drawn to him and The Shack and it’s New Age spirituality.

Letter to the Editor: Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) Promoting Interspiritual, Panentheist Monk, Basil Pennington

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I thought this link would interest you. The Western Canadian District of the C&MA in Canada is promoting (yet with a disclaimer!) a number of books that teach the practices of contemplative prayer. I was surprised to see it promoted so blatantly on their website.

There is also something called a “Holy Spirit Encounter” that they are starting to implement in their churches. I don’t quite understand what the point of these events are because the Holy Spirit lives within us [believers] all the time.

Just thought I would share these findings with you!

God Bless,


Basil Pennington

Basil Pennington

Our Comments: While Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on C & MA promotion of contemplative for a number of years, we believe it is worth posting this letter to the editor because of one particular name listed on the website linked to above: Basil Pennington (1931-2005). While the C & MA site gives a disclaimer, which states, “The following list of resources contain a variety of perspectives that cannot be fully endorsed by the WCD in every manner.  We do believe, however, that the discerning reader can benefit greatly from these writings,” there is no way that a “discerning reader” could ever “benefit greatly” from the writings of Basil Pennington. The fact that he is included on the already highly problematic list they provide with contemplatives such as Brad Jersak, John of the Cross, Bill Johnson, Henri Nouwen, and so forth proves that the Western Canadian District of C & MA Canada has dropped into a deep level of apostasy from the leadership level.

Basil Pennington is a Catholic contemplative monk who teaches that God is in every person. As L. Putnam points out in one of her articles, Pennington believes in the “God’s Dream” concept (which is God in everyone). He states:

We do not know how precious we are in ourselves.  As Dame Julian of Norwich, that delightful English mystic declared, we are God’s dream, his homiest home.  We have too little respect for ourselves, too little esteem for our own importance.  God sees things otherwise. (from Living in the Question: Meditations in the Style of Lectio Divina)

Interestingly, that sounds a lot like IF: Gathering leader Melissa Greene as we pointed out in a recent article. This idea of “God’s Dream” is actually taught by numerous contemplatives including Rick Warren and Robert Schuller (as Warren B. Smith discusses in Deceived on Purpose). If  you hear that term being used by a pastor or teacher you know, it’s time to start asking some serious questions.

Basil Pennington (along with Thomas Merton and William Messinger) is ultimately responsible for bringing contemplative spirituality into mainstream Catholicism and eventually evangelical Christianity. These quotes are just two of many by Basil Pennington that help show his mystical propensities:

It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.—Basil Pennington (Centered Living, p. 192)

[I]n centering prayer we go beyond thought and image, beyond the senses and the rational mind, to that center of our being where God is working a wonderful work, just sitting there, doing nothing. Not even thinking some worthwhile thoughts or making some good resolutions-just being (source)

In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he explains:

In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by [Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating], the following advice is given: ‘We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices …” [pp. 5-6]. Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart.

If you are part of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, this is the direction that your leadership is heading, or frankly, has already gone.


Film Review: HELLBOUND?

By Mike Stanwood
Free lance writer and defender of the faith

Screen writer Kevin Miller is probably best known for co-writing the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a film that shows how those who believe in intelligent design are being ridiculed by the scientific community.

For his next project, Miller is about to take on another big topic in an upcoming documentary [1] called Hellbound?” which is going into production this summer. Like Rob Bell, who has recently taken on hell with his controversial new book Love Wins, Miller will be exploring similar questions: “If God is our pure, all-loving Creator, can he really turn his back on sinners and allow them to suffer for eternity in hell? Where did this vision of hell come from? Is it possible we’ve got hell wrong? Or are recent challenges to the traditional view merely an attempt to avoid the inevitable?” [2]

He has already begun by attending a heavy metal concert in Copenhagen called Copenhell, a two-day festival inspired by music from the Abyss. This year’s big performers were Judas Priest and Korn, but Miller was also interested in finding out what was behind the hell-themed imagery in the music and artwork of other acts at this event. [3] (first clue: Satan?)

In the next stage of his Hellbound? production, some other names Miller will be turning to to aid him in his exploration are from the Pacific Northwest. These include William Paul Young, author of The Shack, philosopher Thomas Talbott, and Regent College professor John Stackhouse, Jr.

Also to be interviewed are three of Miller’s fellow writers at Clarion Journal of Spirituality & Justice, all of whom hold to some liberal, unorthodox beliefs. These colleagues are Anglican scholar and university professor Ron Dart, Arch Bishop Lazar Puhalo of All Saints of North America (Canadian Orthodox Monastery), and contemplative prayer/visualization teacher Brad Jersak,  author of Stricken by God?, a collection of essays on alternative atonement theories.

As Dart, Puhalo, and Jersak often appear together in filmed discussions [4], it is not surprising that they will all be part of Miller’s next film. If their ‘pre-interview’ for Hellbound? by Kevin Miller is any indication, Puhalo and Dart will be attempting to dismantle the biblical concept of hell. According to Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, hell is simply anger, malice, and the condition of our conscience [5], while Ron Dart believes that “a literal hell is a preposterous understanding of scripture.” [6]

Jersak’s beliefs on hell can be found in his recently written book on hell, judgment, and universalism called Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hell, Hope, and the New Jerusalem in which his “position seems to be that hopeful universalism is a good evangelical position.” [7]

As if the direction of Hellbound? isn’t already obvious, the participation of The Shack’s author William P. Young in this production may be an even stronger indication of where Miller intends to take his viewers. Besides adding to the buzz, Young’s theology may bring even more confusion to the topic. In the same interview where he denied the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ when he said “No. I don’t, I am not a penal substitution …reformation…point of view”, Young also recommended his listeners read Brad Jersak’s book about alternative atonement theories, Stricken by God? [8]

Also of note is another notorious film documentary, which screenwriter Kevin Miller has co-authored, [9] called With God On Our Side,  a movie aimed at naive evangelical audiences challenging support for Israel and Israel’s significance in Bible prophecy. The film featured Stephen Sizer who has defended Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [10] and acclaimed Helen Thomas for saying that Jews need to “get out of Palestine” and go back to Poland. [11] This anti-Israel film was championed by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren. [12]

In conclusion, it is apparent that at least some of Kevin Miller’s sources consistently appear to be those who have departed from (or never did in the first place) believing that God literally meant what He said in His inspired Word. Instead, these men make their own theories and turn the truth of God into fables (2 Timothy 4:4). However, “far from legend, myth, metaphor, or allegory, the Bible presents hell as a real place where wicked people suffer the wrath of God.” [13] With the recent popularity of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins and the subsequent shift towards universalism among youth, it is concerning that Miller’s Hellbound? production could prove to be a widely viewed film, which will no doubt add to the confusion. Given the facts, it’s not unreasonable to offer a more than strong word of caution about this upcoming film. Those seeking answers about their eternal destination could be sent in the wrong direction by listening to the voices in Hellbound?

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25: 41, 45

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). And also:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. . . . I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

The way of escape from Hell is a free gift, offered to “whosoever believeth on Him” (Jesus Christ – John 3:16). But those who deny biblical truths such as Hell and atonement have taken that free gift and the sacrifice Christ made on the Cross and slammed it to the ground. In essence, they have rejected the free gift of salvation through Christ.

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

[1] “Hellbound?” interview on Atlanta Live; ‘Expelled’ Writer Tackles One Hell of a MovieHELLBOUND: Abbotsford filmmaker asks questions about hell, films documentary locally
[2] Hellbound? documentary to film throughout the Pacific Northwest this July
[3] Hellbound? to begin production at “Copenhell” this June; Hellbound to begin production at “Copenhell”
[5] Part 1: To Hell or not (unsegmented at
In this video, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo says hell is not a created fire pit but simply anger and malice and the condition of our conscience when we depart this world. Also in this video, Ron Dart, who does not have a literal way of reading the Bible, says that we need to transcend a literal way of understanding the Bible because literal interpretation leads to ridiculous consequences – and a literal hell is a preposterous understanding of scripture.
[6] Pt 2 To Hell or not to Hell
In this video, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo says that hell corrupts the concept of the nature and mercy of God, so we have to go to the early church beliefs to find the answer about what hell is. Ron Dart says that to rescue the church from literalism is to track back to the ancient wisdom of the church mothers and fathers.
[7] The Evangelical Universalist featuring Gregory MacDonald and Thomas Talbott: A Forum dedicated to Evangelical Universalists
Her Gates Will Never be Shut
, by Bradley Jersak (Review); By Gregory MacDonald;
[8] Listen to the interview with The Shack author William Young on KAYP by Kendall Adams, pastor of the Burlington Baptist church, where Young denies the substitutionary atonement and recommends Stricken by God? by Brad Jersak;;
Transcript of Interview
[10] In 2007, Stephen Sizer defended Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an Islamic Republic News Agency press conference in Tehran. See “A Goliath in the Church
[11] Sizer acclaimed Helen Thomas for saying that Jews need to “get out of Palestine” and go back to Poland. See: Turning Churches Against Israel [12] See: Film Warning: With God on Our Side – Championed by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren & Steve Haas (World Vision)
[13] The Truth About Hell

Disappointment in the MB Herald – Mennonites Going Contemplative

by Menno-Lite

In the April 2011 issue of the MB Herald is an article called Disappointment in prayer? which is a conversation that recently took place at an MB church about unanswered prayer. The article begins…

In spring 2010, Highland Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C., hosted a three-part series of conversations on unanswered prayer. The following is an excerpt from a panel discussion with congregation member and spiritual director Steve Imbach and author of Can You Hear Me? Brad Jersak, hosted by pastors Andrew Dyck and J Janzen

It is not surprising to see spiritual director Steve Imbach interviewed by this MB pastor. In 2002, the MB Herald reported that…

“Andrew Dyck of King Road MB Church in Abbotsford, B.C. was awarded a Study Grant for Pastoral Leaders given out by The Louisville Institute. He was one of only 40 pastors from across North America to receive the award in 2002, out of 236 applicants…

Dyck also joined nine other MBs to begin a two-year series of retreats and spiritual direction under the leadership of Steve Imbach, focusing on prayer, listening to God and discernment; this experience is intended to prepare them to give spiritual direction to others.”

-Mennonite Brethren Herald • Volume 41, No. 14 • August 2, 2002
MB pastor wins sabbatical award

It was only a matter of time until this spiritual direction led by Imbach would lead to more contemplative spirituality and eventually go mainstream in the Mennonite Brethren churches.

Steve Imbach co-founded the contemplative SoulStream ( for those seeking a contemplative community through spiritual direction training, retreats and courses in the Vancouver area. One of the organizations that Soul Stream links to is Fresh Wind Press, which specializes in the “Listening Prayer Resources” of Brad and Eden Jersak. Click here to continue reading and for citations.

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