Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

Stunning Statistics: “From Antichrist to Brother in Christ: How Protestant Pastors View the Pope”

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Pope Francis during his recent trip to the US

LTRP Note: The following article is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the sources. Both Christianity Today and LifeWay Research are proponents of the “new” spirituality (i.e., contemplative/emerging), which has helped to accelerate the current surge of interspirituality and ecumenism within the evangelical church and is, in effect, causing this major paradigm shift toward the merging of the Protestant/evangelical church with the Roman Catholic Church.

The information in this article is quite stunning.  We are seeing a major paradigm shift taking place.

By Lisa Cannon Green
Christianity Today

More than half of evangelical pastors say Pope Francis is their brother in Christ.

More than one-third say they value the pope’s view on theology, and 3 in 10 say he has improved their view of the Catholic Church.

Those are among the findings of a new study of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors, released this week from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Overall, the survey found that many Protestant pastors have taken a liking to Pope Francis.

Nearly 4 in 10 say the pope, known for his humility and concern for the poor, has had a positive impact on their opinions of the Catholic Church. Almost two-thirds view Pope Francis as a genuine Christian and “brother in Christ.” Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

Jesuit Pope Francis, Pastor Rick Warren And The Coming One-World Religion for Peace

A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church

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NEW BOOKLET TRACT: A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church by Ann Marie is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of  A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church, click here.

A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church

By Ann Marie

Pope Francis is trying to pull Protestants into the Catholic Church. As you will see, several things are helping him accomplish this.

Ecumenism seems plausible because Catholics use words in a way that outsiders don’t understand. Because Protestants don’t understand what Catholics really mean, they think they have a lot of things in common, when in reality, they don’t. For example, let’s look at the word “grace.” According to the Bible, salvation cannot be earned. It only comes from the grace of God. The apostle Paul says:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. (Titus 3:5)

However, according to Catholic doctrine, if people do good works, and they fulfill certain specified requirements, then they can merit a “divine reward” from God.1 This is a doctrine of earning spiritual blessings by doing good works. In addition, the liturgical ritual for baptizing infants includes a prayer asking God to give grace to the water in the baptismal font (the water used to sprinkle the infant).2 For Catholics, “grace” is something that can even be given to inanimate objects such as water.

Here is another example of how Protestants can think they understand Catholicism, when they really don’t. A Catholic priest wrote to me saying that the Catholic Church teaches we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. However, he failed to mention something. According to official Catholic doctrine, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ—PLUS being baptized, going to Mass on Sundays, receiving communion at least once a year, going to confession at least once a year, believing the official doctrines of the Catholic Church, and dying in “a state of grace.” (In America, Mass on Saturdays can be substituted for Mass on Sundays.)

Pope Francis claims that Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship the same God. We do not! Christians and Jews worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Bible tells us to love and forgive. Muslims worship a very different “god,” and the Koran tells Muslims to kill “infidels” if they refuse to convert to Islam.

In June 2014, Pope Francis invited Muslims and Jews to the Vatican for an interfaith service for Catholics, Muslims, and Jews. This is the first time in history that Islamic prayers have been held at the Vatican.3

When listening to Pope Francis or reading his statements, please remember— he is a Jesuit; and Jesuits believe it is morally right to engage in “mental reservations.” This is the practice of saying something with the deliberate intention of deceiving people, but doing it in a way that avoids technically telling a lie. One form this can take is to add more words in your mind that are never spoken, but taken together with those said out loud, the total statement would technically be true.4

Jesuits and Mind Control
The Jesuits practice a form of mind control. It violates a person’s ability to think independently and to follow one’s own conscience. In addition, this can be used to pressure people to obey orders to do bad things. This approach can be seen in the following three rules from the “Spiritual Exercises” of Saint Ignatius Loyola. (He was the founder of the Jesuits.) The “Spiritual Exercises” are divided into sections of four “weeks,” followed by sections of four kinds of rules. These are from the last section of rules titled “Rules for Thinking with the Church.” Ignatius Loyola taught his followers:

Rule 1: Putting aside all private judgment, we should keep our minds prepared and ready to obey promptly and in all things the true spouse of Christ our Lord, our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.

Rule 9: [T]o praise all the precepts of the Church, holding ourselves ready at all times to find reasons for their defense, and never offending against them.

Rule 13: If we wish to be sure that we are right in all things, we should always be ready to accept this principle: I will believe that the white that I see is black, if the hierarchical Church so defines it. For, I believe that between the Bridegroom, Christ our Lord, and the Bride, His Church, there is but one spirit, which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls, for the same Spirit and Lord, who gave us the Ten Commandments, guides and governs our Holy Mother Church.5 (emphasis added)

In addition to these Jesuit teachings, the Catholic Church itself promotes mind control. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the idea of freedom of religion is wrong. Religious belief is said to be “outside the realm of free private judgment,” which means that people are not supposed to use their own personal judgment to determine their religious beliefs.6

According to Canon Law (the official laws governing the Roman Catholic Church), Catholics are required to submit their minds and wills to any declaration concerning faith or morals which is made by the Pope or by a church council. They are also required to avoid anything that disagrees with such declarations.7

The Catholic Church teaches that only the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (the Pope and the bishops in communion with him) has the right to interpret Scripture. People are not allowed to interpret Scripture for themselves. They are supposed to rely entirely on Catholic Church authorities.8 Catholics are supposed to “receive with docility” any directives given to them by Catholic Church authorities.9

A Spirit of Control
The Catholic Church has a strong spirit of control. However, it does not always show it overtly. There is an old saying that when it is in the minority, then it is as meek as a lamb; when it is equal in power with other denominations or religions, then it is sly as a fox; and when it is in power, then it becomes as fierce as a tiger.

Two examples of this are the claim to be infallible and the claim to be able to consign people to hell. I’ll discuss infallibility here, while information about anathemas and consigning people to hell are found in the appendix.

According to the official teaching of the Catholic Church, Catholic men and women are not allowed to believe what they read in the Bible without first checking it out with the Catholic Church. They are required to find out how the bishops of the Church interpret a passage, and they are to accept what the bishops teach “with docility” as if it came from Jesus Christ Himself. They are not allowed to use their own judgment or follow their own conscience. They are required to believe whatever the bishops teach without questioning it.*10

The Catholic Church also teaches that when the bishops officially teach doctrine relating to faith and morals, then God supernaturally prevents them from making any errors. This is called “infallibility.” It applies to official councils, such as the Second Vatican Council. It also applies to other teachings, as long as the bishops and the Pope are in agreement about them.11

In addition to all this, the Pope is said to be infallible whenever he makes an official decree on matters of faith and morals. According to Catholic doctrine, it is impossible for the Pope to teach false doctrine. Catholics are expected to obey the Pope without question even when he is not making an “infallible” statement about doctrine. They are expected to submit their wills and minds to the Pope without question.12

The “Early Fathers,” and the theologians and canon lawyers of the Middle Ages, never taught that the bishops or the Pope were infallible. This is demonstrated by the fact that in 680 A.D., the Sixth Ecumenical Council condemned a pope as a heretic. It was not until the fourteenth century that the theory of infallibility began to emerge. With the development of this theory came a change in the interpretation of some biblical passages.13

My Experience with Mind Control
I understand such things because I used to be a nun in a convent where we were subjected to some forms of mind control. Our personal identities were taken away from us, and we were given new names. We were cut off from our families. We were not allowed to have any kind of emotional attachment to any person or even to an animal. We had to keep silence, which prevented us from communicating with the other nuns.

We had no free time. Everything was scheduled. We had several services a day to sing the Divine Office (Vespers, etc.). Plus we went to Mass every day. We also had scheduled prayer time in the evening, when there was a strict code of silence. All of our other time was spent doing chores.

In the convent, we owned absolutely nothing. I wore my eyeglasses, but they could have taken them if they wanted to.

Christians are supposed to put on the mind of Christ. We do that through prayer and reading the Bible. In contrast, in the convent, we were taught to put on the mind of the Pope and of the founder of our religious order and also of our mother superior. They were our guides rather than the Bible. We were led by them instead of being led by the Holy Spirit.

In effect, our superiors were our conscience and our brains. We were not allowed to think independently or have our own opinions about things, much less communicate about any questions we might have. We were not to ask questions—just obey.

When I left the convent, the nun responsible for getting me out of there whisked me away in such a fashion that the other nuns never saw me leave. I recall noticing that nuns would disappear from time to time but didn’t understand what that meant until it happened to me.

The nun took me to the bus station and got me a ticket to go back home, which was in another state. While she was at the bus station, she called my parents. I thanked God that my parents were home at that time. They weren’t out of town or away visiting friends. I didn’t have enough money to take a cab from the bus station to the house, and I didn’t have a key to the house. If my mother and dad had not been there, I would have landed helplessly at the mercy of strangers.

When I got home, it was strange talking to people again, and it took me a while to get used to it. It was strange hugging my family because I wasn’t used to touching people.

For months afterward, I always kept my head covered. I always wore a scarf. In the convent, we always kept our heads covered, except when we went to bed at night. It took me months to be able to have my head uncovered without feeling guilty about it.  After that, it took many more months before I was able to put on lipstick, and when I did it, I felt guilty.

I got a job as a temporary secretary as I had been a secretary before going into the convent. One day, a man called my boss on the phone, and my boss asked me who it was. I told him I didn’t know, so he told me to ask the caller who he was. I wasn’t able to do that. For years, as a secretary, I had routinely asked callers who they were, but being in the convent, I could not be assertive enough to ask a question like that. Therefore, my boss had to teach me how to do it.

I have some friends who are former nuns. They also went through strange experiences while making the adjustment to normal life. One of them had a woman mentor her. The woman taught her how to ride a bus, how to shop, how to handle money, how to fix her hair, and how to do other things that people take for granted.  She had lost all of those skills while she was in the convent.

One friend of mine who is a former nun was trained to whip herself. It took a lot of training to get her to think that it was the right thing to do. But because she trusted and obeyed her superiors, she came to believe it was a good thing. However, she didn’t actually put this into practice because Vatican II came along, and the convent changed its policy; but she was trained for it and was prepared to do it.

Leaving the Catholic Church
Eventually I left the Catholic Church and became an evangelical Christian. It took me a long time to do that, with a lot of Bible study and prayer. Even after I was fully persuaded that Catholicism taught things contrary to Scripture, it was difficult to leave because of the degree of mind control to which I had been subjected.

Getting out of the Catholic Church was one thing, but getting Catholicism out of me was another matter. It was a long, slow, difficult, and painful process because of the level of mind control I had gone through, but I wanted the truth—no matter what it cost me to learn it. Truth is precious, and the Lord Jesus Christ is truth incarnate. He says,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

I was called “Sister Ann Marie” when I was in the convent. I am using that name in this booklet because I want to avoid being harassed.

Appendix—Anathemas
According to the 1913 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, when the Catholic Church anathematizes someone, the Pope ritually puts curses on them. There is a solemn written ritual for doing this. The Catholic Encyclopedia article describes the ritual in detail, including extensive quotations from it. (You can read the articles of the Catholic Encyclopedia online.)14

In pronouncing the anathema, the Pope wears special vestments.  He is assisted by twelve priests who are holding lighted candles. Calling on the name of God, the Pope pronounces a solemn ecclesiastical curse. He ends by pronouncing sentence and declaring that the anathematized person is condemned to hell with Satan. The priests reply, “Fiat!” (Let it be done!) and throw down their candles.

As we will see, the Catholic Church considers heresy (disagreement with Catholic doctrine) to be a crime. The Council of Trent, and other Church councils, declare that any person who disagrees with even one of their doctrinal statements is thereby anathematized.

When the Pope pronounces an anathema, he is said to be passing sentence on a criminal. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the anathema ritual is deliberately calculated to terrify the “criminal” and cause him to repent (in other words, to unconditionally submit to the Catholic Church).

For those whose crime is heresy, repentance means renouncing everything they have ever said or done which conflicts with Catholic doctrine. In other words, they have to renounce their own conscience and discernment and the conclusions they reached in their best efforts to understand biblical principles. And they have to submit their minds and wills unconditionally to every official doctrinal declaration of the Catholic Church. As we will see, Canon Law says this unquestioning submission of the mind and will is required.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a person’s religious belief is “outside the realm of free private judgment.” This is consistent with the spirit behind anathematizing people.15

The new Code of Canon Law was published by the authority of Pope John Paul II in 1983. It claims to be inspired by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and to put its reforms in concrete form. According to Canon 752, whenever the Pope or the college of bishops makes a declaration concerning faith or morals, “the Christian faithful” are required to submit their intellect and will to it. Furthermore, they are required to avoid anything which disagrees with it.16

So it is against Roman Catholic Canon Law for “the Christian faithful” to doubt or deny or dispute any Catholic doctrine. If something is against the law, then any person who does it commits a crime, which makes him a criminal. Canon Law has punishments for such criminals.

According to Canon 1311, the Catholic Church has the right to coerce “the Christian faithful” who do things contrary to Canon Law. Canon 1312 says that penal sanctions can include depriving people of spiritual goods (such as the sacraments) and temporal goods (things which people need for life on this earth). During the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church penalized Protestants by depriving them of their property, their freedom, and even their lives.17

The Catholic Church has never renounced its past practice of killing people it considered to be heretics. On the contrary, the Office (or Congregation) of the Inquisition still exists. It is part of the Roman Curia (the group of men who govern the Catholic Church). In 1965, its name was changed to “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” It was headed by Cardinal Ratzinger until he became Pope Benedict in 2005.18

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (i.e., that Mary was entirely sinless from birth). After defining the dogma, the Pope said that if any person dares to disagree with what the Pope has declared, then he or she shipwrecks their faith and is cut off from the Church. The Pope declared that such people are “condemned.” He said that if any person says, or writes, or in any other way outwardly expresses “errors” in his or her thinking, then that person becomes subject to punishment.19

The Pope’s reference to punishment is significant because a man had been executed for heresy 28 years before this papal bull was issued. In 1826, a Spanish schoolmaster was hanged because he substituted the phrase “Praise be to God” in place of “Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary”) during school prayers.20

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII issued a papal bull defining the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. He ended by saying that it is forbidden for any person to oppose his declaration or to say things contrary to it. The Pope further declared that any person who attempts to do so thereby incurs the wrath of God and the wrath of the Apostles Peter and Paul.21

Although this papal bull doesn’t openly threaten punishment, it still implies the possibility of some form of punishment. The difference in tone between the bull of 1854 and the bull of 1950 reflects the decrease in power of the Catholic Church. In 1854, a man had recently been executed for heresy. In 1950, the political power of the Roman Catholic Church had decreased. By 1950, the kind of language which was used in the 1854 bull would not have created a good image for the Catholic Church in our modern day.

The Roman Catholic Church believes that the Pope has the power and the authority to damn people to hell. The anathema ritual demonstrates this belief. Many Catholics deny this, saying that only God can condemn people to hell. But look at the ritual of the anathema, as described in the Catholic Encyclopedia. And look at the following solemn declaration of excommunication, which was pronounced by Pope Innocent III:

We excommunicate, anathematize, curse and damn him.22

To order copies of  A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church, click here.

*This contradicts what the Bible says about being a good Berean and testing all things (see Acts 17:10-11 and 1 Thessalonians 5:20), and it nullifies the idea that the Scriptures (particularly the Gospel) were intended to be understood by the common man (see Isaiah 35:8 and Habakkuk 2:2).

Endnotes
1. John A. Hardon, Pocket Catholic Dictionary (“merit”), p. 295. Hardon is a Catholic priest with a doctorate in theology.
2. The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume 1, pp. 394-407 as cited by James G. McCarthy in The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God, p. 22.
3. Christopher Agee, “The Pope Just Invited Islam Into The Vatican, Christians Aghast” (Western Journalism, June 6, 2014, http://www.westernjournalism.com/pope-francis-host-islamic-prayer-vatican).
4. “Mental Reservation,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1911. The Catholic Encyclopedia is available online: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10195b.htm.
5. The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, translated by Anthony Mottola, Ph.D., introduction by Robert W. Gleason, S.J. (New York, NY: Image Books, 2014), pp. 139-141.
6. “Inquisition,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, 1910. The statement opposing freedom of religion is in the second paragraph of the article: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm.
7. Code of Canon Law, Canons 752, 1311-1312 (Latin English edition, New English Translation) (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), pp. 247, 409. The 1983 Code of Canon Law was translated into English in 1988.
8. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 85, 100, 891, 2051. The Catechism summarizes the essential and basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It comes in numerous editions and languages. Because it has numbered paragraphs, statements can be accurately located in spite of the variety of editions.
9. Ibid., Paragraphs 87, 1310, 2037.
10. Ibid., paragraphs 85, 87, 100, 862, 891, 939, 2034, 2037, 2041, and 2050.
11. Ibid., paragraphs 890, 891, 939, 2033, 2034, and 2049.
12. Ibid., paragraphs 892, 2037, and 2050.
13. William Webster, The Church of Rome at the Bar of History (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), pp. 34-55.
14 “Anathema,” Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 edition), Vol. 1. The ritual is described in detail, with a lengthy quotation; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm.
15. “Inquisition,” Catholic Encyclopedia,” Vol. VIII, 1910; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm.
16. Code of Canon Law, Latin English edition, New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), p. 247, Canon 752. The 1983 “Code of Canon Law” was translated into English in 1988.
17. Ibid., p. 409, Canons 1311 and 1312. These canons are in the beginning of Book VI.
18. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dxcdf.html
19. Ineffabilis Deus (“Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception”).  This encyclical of Pope Pius IX  was issued on December 8, 1854. Near the end of this papal bull, there is a section titled “The Definition.” The statements I described are in the last paragraph of that section; http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm.
20. Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, a Touchstone Book, 1995), p. 308.  Paul Johnson is a prominent historian and a Catholic.
21. Munificentissimus Deus (“Defining the Dogma of the Assumption”), paragraph 47.  Encyclical of Pope Pius XII issued November 1, 1950; http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius12/P12MUNIF.htm.
22. Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity, p. 199.

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Jesuit Pope Francis, Pastor Rick Warren And The Coming One-World Religion for Peace

rp_nf9qq9-b88263123z.120141118201758000gb56d96s.10.jpgBy Roger Oakland
Understand the Times

Hardly a day goes by without news relating to Bible prophecy and especially the advancing trend towards a global religion for the cause of peace. It seems there are few who understand this is what the Bible predicts will happen on planet earth before the return of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom.

Of course, this is no surprise to those who take Bible prophecy seriously.  As the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Man’s plan for peace, inspired by Satan, will end in disaster, not in utopia.

While the Bible warns about the deception that will be characteristic of the Last Days through many prophetic statements, modern-day purpose-driven “Christianity” no longer pays attention to what God has said in His Word. Without question, the closer we get to the return of Jesus Christ, fewer and fewer who profess to believe in Christ believe what His Word says. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

Evangelicals and Catholics Together and the Rejection of End-Time, Bible-Believing Christians by Roger Oakland

Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much

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NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much, click here.

Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much

By Roger Oakland

In 2014, Rick Warren (called “America’s Pastor) was interviewed by Catholic T.V. network host Raymond Arroyo. The interview took place at the Saddleback Church campus and was posted on YouTube by EWTN in April of 2014. Because I had written previously in 2013 about Rick Warren’s connections to Rome and to the Catholic convert Tony Blair (former prime minister of Britain), I was very aware that Rick Warren was heading down the path toward Rome. But not until I saw this interview did I realize just how far he has gone in that direction.

When I wrote the 2013 commentary titled “What is Next for Rick Warren?,” I provided evidence to show that Warren and Britain’s prime minister Tony Blair were partnering together with the Roman Catholic Church to form a P.E.A.C.E. Plan that would lead toward the creation of a global religion in the name of Christ. While many who read that commentary were skeptical that such a Warren-Rome connection existed, the 2014 interview clearly reveals it does.

EWTN made this statement about the interview on their YouTube station:

Part II of our exclusive interview: Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Rick talks about the expansion of his ministry abroad, the Vatican delegation that recently came to Orange County to study his church’s style of evangelization, and which television channel he finds himself watching most often and the show that draws him.1

If you have access to the Internet, I highly recommend you watch the entire thirty-minute interview as it is filled with information that provides further insight into Rick Warren’s pathway to Rome—one he has actually been supporting for quite some time. For instance, in 2005, Warren created the Purpose Driven Life Catholics program. And in his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life (released in 2002), Warren makes several favorable references to well-known Catholics: page 88 (Brother Lawrence, a Catholic mystic); page 108 (Catholic priest and contemplative mystic, Henri Nouwen and Catholic panentheist St. John of the Cross); and twice he mentions Mother Theresa (pages 125 and 231).

But in this EWTN interview, Warren takes his views of the Catholic Church to even “greater” heights and admits he is in favor of the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program (set up to win the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church).2

The Warren-Arroyo Interview
What did he say?! This is exactly the direction we predicted he would go! It will be crucial that skeptics hear and see this interview. These were the thoughts running through my head when I first watched the EWTN interview with Rick Warren and Raymond Arroyo. The comments by Rick Warren in response to Arroyo’s questions were stunning. They left no room for doubt in my mind—Warren is marching towards ecumenical unity with Rome, and it has become clearer than it ever was before.

The interview opened with the following question by Arroyo:

The Purpose Driven Life is the best-selling book in the world—36 million plus copies. It’s been translated more than any book except the Bible. What is the key to that success? Why were so many people touched by that book and continue to be?3

To Arroyo’s question, Warren responded:

You know, Ray, there is not a single new thought in Purpose Driven Life that hadn’t been said for 2,000 years. I’ve just said it in a fresh way. I said it in a simple way. When I was writing Purpose Driven Life it took me seven months, twelve hours a day. I’d get up at 4:30 in the morning. I’d go to a little study. Start at 5 a.m. I was fasting til noon, and I would light some candles, and I would start writing and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. One of the things I did before I wrote the book was, um, I’d ask the question—How do you write a book that lasts 500 years? For instance, um, Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis, Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Ok? The Desert Fathers, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila. All of these great, classic devotional works. Any one of them—I just realized that in order to be timeless you have to be eternal.4

Warren’s answer certainly provides some understanding as to where his spiritual affinities lie, and it associates him with the Catholic contemplative prayer movement brought into the evangelical church through Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Interestingly, in Warren’s first book, The Purpose Driven Church, he identified (and promoted) Foster and Willard as key players in that movement.5

In the interview with Raymond Arroyo, Warren’s exalting of the writers he refers to is disconcerting to say the least. They are all mystics. Brother Lawrence talked of “dancing violently like a mad man” when he went “into the presence.”6 Teresa of Avila levitated and often wrote about her numerous esoteric mystical experiences.7 St. John of the Cross (author of the contemplative favorite, Dark Night of the Soul) was panenthestic in his belief that God was in all creation.8  The Desert Fathers were ancient hermits and monks who embraced the mystical prayer practices of those from pagan religions.

For Rick Warren to list the writings of these Catholic mystics as “great” insinuating they are “eternal” is more than revealing. The Bible is the inspired word of God. As the apostle Paul states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). While the Bible is great and is eternal, the books written by Roman Catholic mystics are the works of fallible humans who were misled by the fallen spiritual dimension. They can promote doctrines of demons and lead Bible believers away from the faith.

Raymond Arroyo then asked Rick Warren the following question:

What is your secret to reaching people every day, every week, not only in your writing but when they speak to you? What is it? What is this communication gift, if you will, if you could decode, because a lot of preachers would like to know.9

While Warren mentions Pope Francis several times throughout the interview with the EWTN host, he answers this question by directing attention to the pope, stating:

Well, the main thing is love always reaches people. Authenticity, humility. Pope Francis is the perfect example of this. He is a—He is doing everything right. You see, people will listen to what we say if they like what they see. And as our new pope, he was very, very symbolic in, you know, his first mass with people with AIDS, uh, his kissing of the deformed man, his loving the children. This authenticity, this humility, the caring for the poor, this is what the whole world expects us Christians to do. And when we—when they go, oh, that’s what a Christian does—In fact, there was a headline here in Orange County—and I love the headline. It said, if you love Pope Francis, you’ll love Jesus. That was the headline! I showed it to a group of priests I was speaking to awhile back.10 (emphasis added)

While loving others is a quality all Christians should embrace and promote, using Pope Francis as the perfect example seems somewhat opportunistic. For Rick Warren to call Pope Francis “our new pope” suggests that Rick Warren has accepted the pope not only as the head of the Catholic Church but as the head of the Christian church as well. Either Rick Warren believes that or he was indeed being opportunistic.

His comments about the Orange County headline, “If You Love Pope Francis, You’ll love Jesus,” is no less reason for scrutiny. Can you imagine the apostle Paul referring to the head of a false religion as “our” leader and comparing this false teacher to Jesus Christ.

Rick Warren, Religious Liberty, and Catholics & Evangelicals Together
It is a well-known fact, based on Bible prophecy, that the last-days one-world religion called the “harlot” will be a counterfeit to the true church, which is the Bride of Christ. Bible scholars who take this position believe the ecumenical gathering of religions together for the cause of peace will be the prerequisite. One of the key events bringing this about is when a declaration is made that the Reformation is over, and the “separated brethren” will be welcomed back into the fold (i.e., the Catholic Church).

This booklet you are reading deals with aspects of the Rick Warren-Raymond Arroyo EWTN interview that provide some significant clues indicating this scenario is presently underway. I am making reference to a portion of the interview that deals with the topic of religious liberty.  In fact, it was revealed that Rick Warren may have a plan laid away for the future of promoting a “religious liberty movement” that will be the equivalent of the “civil liberties movement” of the past. When Raymond Arroyo asked Rick Warren what he thought about the separation of church and state and how the Supreme Court would rule on this topic in the future, Warren responded:

Now it’s interesting that phrase today means the exact opposite of what it meant in Jefferson’s days. Today people think it means keeping religion out of government or out of politics. But actually, the separation of church and state was we are going to protect the church from the government. I believe that religious liberty may be the civil rights issue of the next decade. And if it takes some high profile pastors going to jail, like Martin Luther King did with civil rights, I’m in. So be it. I mean, as Peter said and the apostles that we must obey God rather than men.11 (emphasis added)

It may seem surprising to some that “America’s Pastor” would be so outspoken and willing to take such a strong stand for religious liberty—especially when he shows his passion for this topic by stating he is personally willing to go to jail for such a cause. These are passionate words. Does this mean that the Purpose Driven Church model may have a broader agenda than previously advertised?

Arroyo then asks Warren:

Do you think events like this, moments like this, are actually sources of unity and moments of unity, particularly for Catholics and Evangelicals?12

When I first listened to Warren’s response, I was somewhat surprised by what he said. However, after thinking about it further and comparing his answer with other statements Warren previously made about his willingness to work together with various faiths  and belief systems for the common cause of good, his response made perfect sense. Warren states:

Well, obviously we have so much in common in protecting our religious rights—and really the religious rights of other people who we disagree with on beliefs and behaviors. Muslims, for instance, don’t drink alcohol. If all of a sudden they made a law that said every Muslim restaurant has to serve alcohol, I would be there protesting with that. If they made a law that said every Jewish deli in New York City has to sell pork, I’m going to be there protesting. I don’t have a problem with pork. But I am going to protest that. If they make a law that says every Catholic school has to provide contraceptives, if you’re morally convinced you shouldn’t have contraceptives, I stand with you, firm with you on your belief on that because you have a right to train your children the way you want to.13

It is difficult to challenge Warren’s argument as he states his case. Religious freedom is a major pillar that America was founded upon. To attack religious freedom or rights could well spark a religious liberty movement if this is the direction political leaders are headed.

However, it is also possible that a so-called “religious liberty” movement championed by America’s Pastor, who is willing to go to jail for standing up for the religious rights of all religions, could be a stepping stone to something else. Especially when it is so obvious this would be another effective way to join evangelicals and Catholics together, the current common trend is going that direction wtih each passing day.

While it may be a stretch to suggest Rick Warren will become the pied piper who unites all the world religions for a common cause, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Warren could be a major spokesperson for persuading evangelicals to join together with Roman Catholics. This whole movement has been in place for some time and has received endorsements from such well-known leaders as Bill Bright, J. I. Packer, and Charles Colson.

In the past, Rick Warren has made numerous statements about his willingness to join forces with Rome in order to establish the kingdom of God here on earth. In a message Warren gave at the Pew Forum on Religion in Key West Florida, May 23, 2005, he stated:

Now when you get 25 percent of America, which is basically Catholic, and you get 28 to 29 percent of America which is evangelical together, that’s called a majority. And it is a very powerful bloc, if they happen to stay together on particular issues. . . . I would encourage you to look at this evolving alliance between evangelical Protestants and Catholics.14

Without question, Warren’s “evolving alliance” with Rome has come a long way since he made this statement. The interview with Raymond Arroyo of EWTN is proof of that. When a pastor of Warren’s stature and influence refrains from warning his followers about the dangers found in the extra- and non-biblical teachings of Roman Catholicism, discerning Christians should not remain silent.

Rick Warren, Jean Vanier, and the New Evangelization
One significant revelation that was brought to light during the interview was that Rick Warren and Saddleback Church had hosted a delegation from Rome to discuss the New Evangelization program. According to the interview, a number of Roman Catholic delegates were observing the Warren-Saddleback Purpose-Driven model in order to gain ideas and insight for the Roman Catholic New Evangelization plan initiated by Pope John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. I have discussed this New Evangelization plan and the serious implications of it in several articles over the years as well as in my book Another Jesus: the eucharistic christ and the new evangelization.

With regard to the Catholic delegation visit to Saddleback, Raymond Arroyo asked Rick Warren the following question:

The Vatican recently sent a delegation here to Saddleback—the pontifical council—the academy for life. Tell me what they discovered and why did they come? This is a sizable group.15
Rick Warren enthusiastically answered:

They were about thirty bishops from Europe. One of the men had been actually trained and mentored by Jean Vanier, which is an interesting thing because we have a retreat center here and my spiritual director, who grew up at Saddleback, actually went and trained under Jean Vanier too. So I am very excited about that.16

While the term “spiritual director”* or the name Jean Vanier may not mean much to you unless you are versed on contemplative mystical spirituality, this admission by Warren provides conclusive evidence of his endorsement of Roman Catholic monastic mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer). The fact he mentions he has his “own” spiritual director located at Saddleback who was trained under the leadership of Jean Vanier is even more significant and further unveils Warren’s journey to Rome.

Let’s take a brief look now at Jean Vanier, the man who trained Rick Warren’s spiritual director. This will provide important insights. Vanier (b. 1928) is the Canadian Catholic founder of L’Arche, which is a humanitarian community for disabled people. It is L’Arche where Catholic priest Henri Nouwen spent the last ten years of his life. Vanier is a contemplative mystic who promotes interspirituality and interfaith beliefs, calling the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi “one of the greatest prophets of our times”17 and “a man sent by God.”18  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.19 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.

Now think about this. To learn through Rick Warren’s interview with Raymond Arroyo that Warren’s own “spiritual director” was trained under Jean Vanier is, at the very least, a key to understanding the long history where Rick Warren has expressed support for contemplative mystics and ecumenical/interspiritual efforts. In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he points out that both Rick and Kay Warren very much admire the writings of Henri Nouwen. As a matter of fact, Yungen has devoted an entire chapter to Rick Warren’s contemplative propensities including his instructions in The Purpose Driven Life on breath prayers. Now that Warren has revealed that his own spiritual director was trained under someone like Jean Vanier, we can better understand the direction Warren is heading.

The New Roman Catholic Evangelization
If the delegation sent to Saddleback from Rome consisted of thirty Bishops, obviously this was a very significant event. What were the delegates discussing with Warren and his team? Warren provides the answer to that question in the interview:

[T]hey were talking about the New Evangelization, and Saddleback has been very effective in reaching [the] secular mindset. Our church is 33 years old. Easter 2014 at Saddleback is our 34th anniversary. And in 34 years, we’ve baptized 38,000 adults. Now, these are adult converts. People with no religious background. People who say, “I was nothing before I came to Saddleback.” So we figured out a way to reach that mindset. And I fully support your Catholic Church’s New Evangelization which basically says we’ve got to re-evangelize people who are Christian in name but not in heart. And they need a new fresh relationship to our Savior.20 (emphasis added)

While Warren provides his stamp of approval on the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program and makes it sound like the purpose is to win converts to Christ, there is much more to the picture than Warren describes. The Roman Catholic New Evangelization program is dedicated to winning converts to the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Christ and obedience to the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. While Warren may call this “a new fresh relationship to our Savior,” he is overlooking what Catholics must believe in order to be a member of the Catholic Church. Either he is oblivious to this fact or he is ignorant of it. For a man who claims to be a voracious reader and who has a doctorate degree from a theological seminary, it’s hard to believe it’s the latter.

In a commentary I wrote called “Mysticism, Monasticism, and the New Evangelization,” I was able to document that contemplative mysticism provides the catalyst for the New Evangelization. Thus, Rome and Babylon join together to form a new ecumenical Christianity that fits the description of the harlot—the counterfeit bride—described in the book of Revelation, chapter 18.

The facts stare us in the face. Warren’s pathway to Rome is dangerous! Why do so few recognize what is happening? Do you know someone who is caught up in the deception but does not see what is going on? Maybe this would be a good time to pray God’s grace would open their eyes, and they would see the truth of God’s word.

Rick Warren and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Some who are reading this report may be asking the question: Why spend so much time and energy on this topic? What is wrong with “America’s Pastor” expressing his support for the Roman Catholic Church and what it stands for?

The answer is simple. Bible-believing Christians are called to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). When a Christian leader publicly makes statements or endorsements by saying or doing things that contradict the Bible, the leader needs to be addressed in a public manner so those who have been influenced can be put back on track. While many professing Christians who embrace full-blown ecumenical unity with Rome remain silent and see no harm with the direction Warren is heading, we are compelled to sound the alarm.

Thus far in this booklet, I have addressed several critical topics indicating Warren is headed down the road to Rome. Now, I would like to address what is possibly the most blatant endorsement of Roman Catholicism revealed in Warren’s entire interview with EWTN. It was so revealing that even Raymond Arroyo expressed surprise when he asked Warren to comment on the following topic:

Tell me about your—the little breather you take in the day when you watch television. When we first met, you came up to me afterwards—I can’t believe you watch Chaplet of Divine Mercy.21

In response to Arroyo’s comment, Rick Warren expounded:

I’m an avid fan of EWTN. I make no bones about it. I probably watch it more than any Christian channel. Well, you know what? Because you have more, more, uh, shows that relate to history. And if you don’t understand the roots of our faith, that God had been working for 2,000 years, regardless of what brand of believer you are, God has been working for 2,000 years in His church. And if you don’t have those roots, you’re like the cut flower syndrome. Or you’re a tumbleweed.22

If Warren’s main reason for watching the Roman Catholic Eternal Word Television Network is to gain a knowledge and understanding of Christian history, then there is no question he is getting a biased one-sided view. While I admit I do not watch EWTN as much as Warren apparently does (and certainly not for the same reasons), I do know that a major part of Christian history dealing with the Reformation and the Counter-reformation is not one of the favorite topics presented. Perhaps a quick review of Fox’s Book of Martyrs would be a good balance for Warren and a reminder of what happened to Christians who stood up against the pope of Rome and his Jesuit enforcers in the past for believing the Word of God rather than the word of man. People were burned at the stake for saying that Jesus could not be found in a wafer (the Eucharist).23

In the interview, Warren not only stated that EWTN was his favorite Christian television network, he further offered that he had a favorite program he and his wife watch regularly on that network. When I first watched the entire EWTN interview, it was the statement Warren made at this point that primarily motivated me to do this report. If Arroyo was shocked by this revelation, the best way to describe my reaction to his response would be astonished and angry. In Warren’s own words:

One of my favorite shows, which you repeat often is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which I love. And when I’ve had a very stressful day, I’ll come home, I’ve got it taped, and Kay and I will both, we’ll listen. We’ll put it on and just sit back, relax and worship. And in the time of reflection, meditation and quietness, I find myself renewed and restored. So thank you for continuing to play the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.24

Arroyo responds to Warren’s statement, “Thank Mother Angelica.”

Warren then echoes, “Thank you, Mother Angelica.”

“Mother” Mary Angelica (b. 1923) is the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network. Among the programs making up the daily broadcasting schedule is “The Chaplet of Divine Mercy.” A description of this program provides background information:

The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is a Christian devotion based on the visions of Jesus reported by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), known as “the Apostle of Mercy.” She was a Polish sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000. Faustina stated that she received the prayer through visions and conversations with Jesus, who made specific promises regarding the recitation of the prayers. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these conversations. As a Roman Catholic devotion, the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Holy Rosary or the Chaplet of Holy Wounds, in the Roman Catholic Church. As an Anglican devotion, The Divine Mercy Society of the Anglican Church states that the chaplet can also be recited on Anglican prayer beads. The chaplet may also be said without beads, usually by counting prayers on the fingertips, and may be accompanied by the veneration of the Divine Mercy image.25

Note the reference to “the veneration of the Divine Mercy image,” which is an essential component of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Consider this further documentation that will clarify that idolatry is the only way to describe what is taking place:

The earliest element of the Devotion to the Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina was the Image. On February 22nd, 1931 Jesus appeared to her with rays radiating from His heart and said, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the world. (Diary 47)

I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary 48) I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature “Jesus, I trust in You.” (Diary 327)26

One could contend that Warren was just “making conversation” with Arroyo or even making a joke when he made the claim that The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy was his favorite “Christian” television program. But he has never made a public statement refuting or withdrawing his statements. Plus, he gave such detail in his account. If this is what he truly believes, if he was speaking the truth to Arroyo, then he is defying the God of the Bible and willingly ignoring the commandment in the Bible that states:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)

I took the time to watch several Chaplet of the Divine Mercy programs posted on the Internet. Staring at images of “Christ” or worshipping a monstrance containing the supposed body of Christ while repeating the rosary did not bring peace and relaxation for me as Warren claims it did for him. It does not take a great deal of discernment to realize these unbiblical practices are rooted in paganism.**

The Bottom Line
There’s no other way to put it, Rick Warren is on a dangerous path away from sound biblical doctrine toward an ecumenical apostate form of Christianity with Rome that has the potential to lead many astray.

What does it mean “to earnestly contend for the faith”? Is sound biblical doctrine being compromised for the sake of unity in the church today? When a pastor endorses a television program that promotes idolatry, shouldn’t that pastor be called out or at least asked to give a public repeal of his earlier endorsements?

The facts have been presented and a hypothesis can be formulated that leads to a reasonable conclusion. My prayer is that the damage done to biblical Christianity can be corrected through open repentance and public statements that set the record straight by Warren himself and those who follow him.

The Warren-Arroyo EWTN interview that first aired on YouTube on April 11, 2014 provides many insights regarding the “New Evangelicalism” that is presently unfolding. Rather than lines being drawn in the sand, walls are coming down, and ecumenical unity is being established. If Rick Warren and his followers represent the direction many Protestants are heading, it is only a matter of time for the coming one-world ecumenical religion to be established. The Jesuit plan to bring the “separated brethren home to Rome” will have been accomplished. Those who refuse to follow will be singled out and considered “heretics” who are ruining the P.E.A.C.E. process. Is it possible that persecution for these “resistors” is in store.

To order copies of Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much, click here.

* A term used in contemplative spirituality as one who can help you “discern” the voices you are hearing in the contemplative “silence.”

** I have decided the best way to confirm this point is to provide an Internet link to an actual Chaplet of Divine Mercy service so you can see with your own eyes what Warren and his wife Kay consider a “Christian” devotional. This is only one of many programs that you can watch that all show the same thing. Please check out this 8 minute video clip of a Chaplet of the Divine Mercy program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__RbWgxA2G0.

Endnotes:
1. The interview can be viewed by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVCY8pW-ACs.
2. For more information on the Roman Catholic Church’s New Evangelization program, read Roger’s book, Another Jesus.
3. You can see a transcript of this portion of the interview, Section 1, here: http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/transcripts/rwinterview1.shtml.
4. Ibid.
5. See Faith Undone (Roger Oakland), A Time of Departing (Ray Yungen), and Deceived on Purpose (Warren B. Smith) for documented information.
6. Gerald May, The Awakened Heart (New York, NY:Harper Collins, First Harper Collins Paperback Edition, 1993) p. 87, citing from The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, translated by John Delaney, Image Books, 1977, p. 34.
7. For numerous actual quotes by Teresa of Avila, read Castles in the Sand by Carolyn A. Greene (a Lighthouse Trails novel based on the life of Teresa of Avila and a modern-day college girl).
8. See http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/johnofthecross.htm.
9. Transcript, section 1, op. cit.
10. Ibid.
11. Transcript, section 3: http://www.understandthetimes.org/audio%20commentary/transcripts/rwinterview3.shtml.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. Rick Warren, PEW Forum, Key West, Florida, May 23, 2005, http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80.
15. Transcript, section 4: http://www.understandthetimes.org/audio%20commentary/transcripts/rwinterview4.shtml.
16. Ibid.
17. Jean Vanier, Essential Writings (Orbis Books, 2008), p. 62.
18.  Ibid., p. 76.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.
21. Transcript, section 5: http://www.understandthetimes.org/audio%20commentary/transcripts/rwinterview5.shtml.
22. Ibid.
23. See the story of Mrs. Prest in the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Some editions of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs have omitted stories of papal persecution.
24. Transcript, section 5, op. cit.
25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaplet_of_Divine_Mercy.
26.  http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/image.htm.

Editor’s Note: Since Roger Oakland wrote this report in 2014, several high prolific Christian leaders, including Rick Warren, have moved further along the dangerous ecumenical path to Rome. You may find articles about these situations written by Lighthouse Trails authors in our print research journal (see copyright page of this booklet) as well as our research site (www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com).

To order copies of Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much, click here.

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Fox News Contributor Kirsten Powers Exits Evangelicalism to Embrace Catholicism – Timothy Keller & Other Evangelical Leaders Partly to Blame

Kirsten Powers

By L. Putnam

Kirsten Powers, Fox News’ pundit, happily announced on October 9, 2015 to “The Five” on “One More Thing” that the next day she would become Catholic.  Immediately, Powers was “high fived” by Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Eric Bolling.

Exactly why was this announcement so news worthy?  Well, for starters Kirsten, once an Episcopalian and later an atheist, had shared a “conversion story” about nine years ago.  At the time well-known Presbyterian Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Church in New York City had played a role in unveiling her eyes to the truth that God existed.  Further time at Redeemer had her calling herself an “orthodox Christian,” and sharing her story with Christianity Today.  One wonders was there anything Keller shared about his own affinity with Catholicism as found, for example, in his book Reason for God  that gave Kirsten the impression Catholics are surely true Christians?

In an article, “Fox News’s* Kirsten Powers Announces: ‘I’m Becoming Catholic,'” Catholic Deacon Greg Kandra of the Diocese of Brooklyn writes that during a 2006 trip to Taiwan Powers felt she had had a visitation from Jesus.  Kandra further writes, “She has called her conversion a ‘a bit of a mind bender’ due to her political beliefs and former atheism, and prefers the term ‘orthodox Christian’ over ‘evangelical’ to describe herself due to the ‘cultural baggage’ around the word ‘evangelical.’  She has said that the biggest impact her new found faith had on her political beliefs was that she came to ‘view everyone as God’s child and that means everyone deserves grace and respect.'”  However, I would point out, that the Bible does not say everyone is God’s child.  One Christian source puts it this way, “The Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16) and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16), but only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12, 11:52, Romans 8:16; I John 3:1-10).”
* Kandra’s error.

In another piece, “Kirsten Powers Awakens to the Beauty and Depth and Riches of the Catholic Faith,” Rick Rice wrote of Msgr. Charles Pope’s* article that told of Kirsten’s beautiful conversion story to Evangelicalism.  Rice noted that Msgr. Pope, at the time, prayed that Kirsten would to know that Jesus is Lord and the lover of her soul.  Of the Msgr. Pope piece, Rice quotes, “But Father, but Father… ‘She did not become Catholic.'”  However,  Msgr. Pope wrote, “Well, all I know is that she is on a journey.  And the Lord has surely led some of the best Catholics through the Evangelical denominations to the Catholic Church.**  … In fact some of the greatest converts to the Catholic Church bring many gifts from their time as Evangelicals …  At a personal level, I would love for Ms. Powers to find herself in full union with the Catholic Church. …”  Rice went on, “Well Msgr. Pope, that one day has apparently arrived: Welcome Ms. Powers to the faith that challenges and enriches.”  Rice ended by saying to Powers, “May God use you ma’am to bring others to His embrace.”
http://wizbangblog.com/2015/10/09/kirsten-powers-awakens-to-the-beauty-and-depth-and-riches-of-the-catholic-faith/

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Related Information:

Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection

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“Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion”

I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion.Ray Yungen

“Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion”

by Ray Yungen

While many Christians are still not even aware that a practical Christian mystical movement exists, momentum is picking up, and an obvious surge towards this contemplative spirituality has surfaced. Evidence regarding the magnitude of this mystical prayer movement is now within reach of the average person. In 1992, Newsweek magazine did a cover story called “Talking to God,” which made a clear reference to it. The article disclosed:

[S]ilence, appropriate body posture and, above all, emptying the mind through repetition of prayer have been the practices of mystics in all the great world religions. And they form the basis on which most modern spiritual directors guide those who want to draw closer to God.1

It is amazing to me how Newsweek clearly observed this shift in the spiritual paradigm over fifteen years ago, while many Christians (including most prominent leaders) still live in abject ignorance of this change. Are the teachings of the practical Christian mystic actually being assimilated so well that even our pastors are not discerning this shift?

In September 2005, Newsweek carried a special report called “Spirituality in America.” The feature story, titled “In Search of the Spiritual,” is seventeen pages long, and for anyone who thought that a Christian mystical movement did not exist, this article is all the proof needed to show it not only exists but is alive, well, and growing like you wouldn’t believe.

Thomas Keating

The article begins by describing the origin of the contemporary contemplative prayer movement, which began largely with a Catholic monk named Thomas Keating:

To him [Keating], as a Trappist monk, meditation was second nature. He invited the great Zen master Roshi Sasaki to lead retreats at the abbey. And surely, he thought, there must be a precedent within the church for making such simple but powerful spiritual techniques available to laypeople. His Trappist brother Father William Meninger found it in one day in 1974, in a dusty copy of a 14th-century guide to contemplative meditation, “The Cloud of Unknowing.”2

The most obvious integration of this movement can be found in Roman Catholicism. Michael Leach, former president of the Catholic Book Publishers Association, made this incredibly candid assertion:

But many people also believe that the spiritual principles underlying the New Age movement will soon be incorporated–or rather reincorporated–into the mainstream of Catholic belief. In fact, it’s happening in the United States right now.3

Incorporating it is! And it is assimilating primarily through the contemplative prayer movement.

Contemplative leader Basil Pennington, openly acknowledging its growing size, said, “We are part of an immensely large community … ‘We are Legion.'”4 Backing him up, a major Catholic resource company stated, “Contemplative prayer has once again become commonplace in the Christian community.”5

William Shannon [a mystic proponent and the biographer of Thomas Merton] went so far as to say contemplative spirituality has now widely replaced old-style Catholicism.6 This is not to say the Mass or any of the sacraments have been abandoned, but the underlying spiritual ideology of many in the Catholic church is now contemplative in its orientation.

One of my personal experiences with the saturation of mysticism in the Catholic church was in a phone conversation I had with the head nun at a local retreat center who told me the same message Shannon conveys. She made it clear The Cloud of Unknowing is now the basis for nearly all Catholic spirituality, and contemplative prayer is now becoming widespread all over the world.

I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion. Speaking of a meeting between the late Pope Paul VI and members of the Catholic Trappist Monastic Order in the 1970s, Thomas Keating, disclosed the following:

The Pontiff declared that unless the Church rediscovered the contemplative tradition, renewal couldn’t take place. He specifically called upon the monastics, because they lived the contemplative life, to help the laity and those in other religious orders bring that dimension into their lives as well.7

Just look at the latest official catechism of the Catholic church to see contemplative prayer officially endorsed and promoted to the faithful by the powers that be. The new catechism firmly states: “Contemplative prayer is hearing the word of God … Contemplative prayer is silence.”8

I realized just how successfully Pope Paul’s admonitions have been carried out when I discovered the following at one popular Catholic bookstore. Many shelves were marked as spirituality–the focal point of the entire store. Eighty to ninety percent of the books on those shelves were on mystical prayer. It was clearly the overriding theme….

Contemplative spirituality reaches far beyond the walls of the Catholic church. Mainline Protestant traditions (Episcopalians, United Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, United Church of Christ, etc.) have dived into the contemplative waters too. Their deep tradition of twentieth-century liberalism and sociopolitical activism has left them spiritually dry and thirsting for supernatural experiences. This school of practical mysticism gives them a sense of spirituality while still allowing them a liberal political correctness. Marcus Borg, [former] professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and someone who resonates with mystical spirituality understands the popularity of mystical prayer. He states:

In some mainline denominations, emerging-paradigm [contemplative] Christians are in the majority. Others are about equally divided between these two ways of being Christian.9

A sales person at a bookstore that caters to these denominations once told me the contemplative prayer view has found a large audience in the Protestant mainstream, and many pastors are very open to these practices. She added that some members of the clergy did show resistance, but a clear momentum towards the contemplative direction was nevertheless occurring. An article in Publisher’s Weekly magazine addressing the move toward contemplative prayer in mainstream religious circles confirmed her observation. One woman in the publishing field was quoted as saying, “[M]any Protestants are looking to satisfy that yearning by a return to the Western contemplative tradition.”10 Another college professor pointed out:

My students have been typically middle-aged and upper middle class Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists, active in the lay leadership of their churches. To outward appearances, they are quite conventional people. Yet I have found that virtually every one of my students has encountered the new age in one of its many forms and has been attracted by its mystery.11

Contemplative spirituality provides a seemingly profound experience of God without having to adhere to a conservative social outlook. It also gives its practitioners comfort to know they draw on a so–called Christian well of tradition. This dilutes any reluctance some might have about the orthodoxy of these practices.

To underscore the scope and reach of the contemplative prayer movement let’s look at the numbers put out by an organization called Spiritual Directors International (SDI). On their website this group gives ample evidence of what their practices are. In one national conference, the following was presented:

This workshop offers an opportunity to study and experience the [spiritual] director’s role in a person’s move into the beginning and early stages of contemplative prayer, silence, and openness to new sorts of praying.12

One of the objectives of SDI is “Tending the holy around the world and across traditions.” A 2008 membership list showed 652 Episcopalians, 239 Presbyterians, 239 Methodists, 175 Lutherans, and a whopping 2,386 Roman Catholics; counting another forty or so “traditions,” the total was 6648. To show the nature of just what they mean by “across traditions,” the list included Buddhist, Gnostic Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Siddha Yoga, and even Pagan/Wiccan.* (see below)

(For more information about contemplative spirituality, spiritual formation, and New Age mysticism coming into the church, read A Time of Departing.)

Notes:
1. Kenneth L. Woodward, “Talking to God” (Newsweek , January 6, 1992), p. 44.
2. Jerry Alder, “In Search of the Spiritual” (Newsweek, August/September 2005, Special Report: “Spirituality in America”), p. 48.
3. Michael Leach (America, May 2, 1992), p. 384.
4. M. Basil Pennington, Centered Living: The Way of Centering Prayer (New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing, Image Book edition, September 1988), p. 10.
5. Sheed & Ward Catalog, Winter/Lent, 1978, p. 12.
6. William Shannon, Seeds of Peace (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1996), p. 25.
7. Anne A. Simpson, “Resting in God” Common Boundary magazine, Sept./Oct. 1997, http://www.livingrosaries.org/interview.htm), p. 25.
8. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Urbi et Orbi Communications, 1994), p. 652.
9. Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 2004), p. 7.
10. Kimberly Winston, “Get Thee to a Monastery” (Publisher’s Weekly, April 10, 2000), p. 39.
11. Bruce Epperly, Crystal & Cross (Mystic, CT: Twenty-third Publishers, 1996), p. 14.
12. Spiritual Directors International, Conference Workshops: “Exile or Return? Accompanying the Journey into Contemplative Prayer” (http://www.sdiworld.org/conference_workshops.html).

*Note on Spiritual Directors International. Since 2005, there have been significant increases in the SDI’s demographic statistics of spiritual director members. The overall increase went from around 5000 members in 2005 to 6648 in 2008 with new denominations and religious groups added.

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NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them

Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer –  Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them by John Lanagan and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them click here.

 “Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them”

BKT-JL-WR-4By John Lanagan and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails

I knew the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.1—Priscilla Shirer

[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know, to the depths of the marrow in our bones, that He is God. There has got to be a stillness.2—Beth Moore

Contemplative prayer, which Priscilla Shirer refers to as her “brand new way” and Beth Moore says is essential in really knowing God, is in reality an ancient prayer practice that is essentially the same as New Age or Eastern meditation though disguised with Christian terminology. Those who participate and enter the contemplative silence, as it is called, open themselves to great deception.

Now, because of the success of the War Room movie, many fans are going to flock to the websites and materials of Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. Those who buy Shirer’s book, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, will discover Shirer’s affinity with contemplative prayer. And those who buy the DVD Be Still or a book titled When Godly People Do Ungodly Things will learn of Moore’s contemplative prayer propensities.

Contemplative prayer is a primary factor to consider as we watch the visible church depart from sound doctrine more and more. It is promoted by such ministries as Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP),  Bethel Church of Redding, California (Bill and Beni Johnson), Saddleback’s Rick Warren, author Kenneth Boa, and pastor and author Tim Keller to name just a few.

How was Priscilla Shirer introduced to this practice? She writes:

[A] friend sent me a book on silent prayer. The book explains how purposeful periods of silent prayer can help believers hear God’s voice. I was very drawn to the spiritual journey of the author, and I read the book twice. As my heart burned within me, I knew that the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.3

Thus fascinated with this newly discovered concept, Shirer then read a Bible verse, which she perceived as a Word from the Lord: “As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut” (Ecclesiastes 5:1, NLT). She explains:

It confirmed the message of the book I had been so drawn to and what I sensed the Holy Spirit was leading me to do.4

She was further amazed to learn that some of the women from her church were going to participate in a “silent prayer retreat. Women would gather to spend 36 hours of silence in anticipation of hearing the voice of God.”5

She had read about this in the book on silent prayer, but now here were people actually talking about the same thing. Shirer seems to have taken all this as part of God’s plan.

Beth Moore and Her Contemplative Hero
In her book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, in a section about “Unceasing Prayer,” Beth Moore states:

I have picked up on the terminology of Brother Lawrence [a Carmelite mystic], who called praying unceasingly practicing God’s presence. In fact, practicing God’s presence has been my number one goal for the last year.6

Moore says:

A head full of biblical knowledge without a heart passionately in love with Christ is terribly dangerous—a stronghold waiting to happen. The head is full, but the heart and soul are still unsatisfied.7

This language is very indicative of contemplatives and echoes Richard Foster who says we have become barren and dry within or Rick Warren who believes the church needs Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) to come to “full maturity.”8 However, this could lead one to think that the Word of God is little more than a philosophy or belief system and needs the help of contemplative prayer to be effective at all. The insinuation is that the Holy Spirit is dormant and ineffective without this vital stimuli. Contemplatives make a distinction between studying and pondering on the Word of God versus loving Him, suggesting that we cannot love Him or know Him simply by studying His Word or even through normal prayer—we must practice contemplative to accomplish this.

In Moore’s book, she makes frequent favorable references to contemplative pioneer Brennan Manning, stating that his contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel.”9 Yet Manning was a devout admirer of Beatrice Bruteau, founder of The School for Contemplation. Bruteau believes God is within every human being and wrote the book, What We Can Learn from the East. In an interview, she said:

We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not “I am a this” or “I have that quality.” Only unlimited, absolute “I AM.”10

In his book, Abba’s Child, Manning calls Bruteau a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.”11 Manning defines “contemplative consciousness” in the following statements:

Choose a single, sacred word or phrase that captures something of the flavor of your intimate relationship with God. A word such as Jesus, Abba, Peace, God or a phrase such as “Abba, I belong to you.” . . . Without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often.12

When distractions come … simply return to listening to your sacred word…. [G]ently return [your mind] to your sacred word.13

[E]nter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard.14

That “Voice of Love” is the voice heard when one enters the contemplative silence. Furthering Beth Moore’s great admiration for Manning, she quotes him from his book Ragamuffin Gospel calling the book “one of the most remarkable books”15 she has ever read. But it is this very book that reveals Manning’s true spiritual affinity. In the back of Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning makes reference to Catholic priest and mystic Basil Pennington saying that Pennington’s methods of prayer will provide us with “a way of praying that leads to a deep living relationship with God.”16 Pennington’s methods of prayer draw from Eastern religions. In his book, Finding Grace at the Center, Pennington says:

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.17

In Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning also cites Carl Jung as well as interspiritualists and contemplative mystics, Anthony De Mello, Marcus Borg (who denies the Virgin birth and Jesus being Son of God), Morton Kelsey, Gerald May, Henri Nouwen, Alan Jones (who denies the atonement), Eugene Peterson, and goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. Most of these figures are panentheistic, and no discerning Bible teacher would ever point followers to them, either directly or indirectly! And yet, how many of Beth Moore followers have been introduced to the writings of these authors through her glowing recommendation of Brennan Manning and the Ragamuffin Gospel?

For Moore to call Manning’s book “remarkable” and to say his contribution to this generation of believers is “a gift without parallel” leads one to conclude that Beth Moore has been highly influenced by Manning’s spirituality.

The Be Still Film
In 2006, Fox Home Entertainment released a film titled Be Still. One person to whom they reached out to be in the film was Priscilla Shirer. According to Priscilla,

They were creating a program on contemplative prayer called Be Still. They asked me to be a part of this project that was designed to help Americans see the importance of spending time before God in stillness. I knew immediately that God wanted me to be a part of the project.18

And so she was, along with Beth Moore who played a vital role in the Be Still film as well. The producers and directors of the film explained the reason they made the film:

My husband and I wanted to find a way to introduce others in the modern church to this beautiful early church practice.19 (emphasis added)

This “early church practice” is referring to the Desert Fathers—ancient monks who had learned mystical prayer practices from those in other religions. In Be Still, Shirer states that nothing, not even a “great book,” could take the place of experiencing what she calls “the manifest presence of God.”20 If there is one main message in the Be Still DVD, it is: you cannot really know God if you do not practice the art of going into the contemplative silence.

Priscilla Shirer talks about her participation in the Be Still DVD on her website, where she describes contemplative prayer as seeing “God far more clearly than we can in the normal frantic rhythm of life.”21 Contemplatives teach that in the normal “rhythm,” we cannot have a real relationship with God, and in order to hear Him, we must “change frequencies.” Former Saddleback Church pastor and contemplative advocate Lance Witt explains:

The goal of solitude is not so much to unplug from my crazy world, as it is to change frequencies so that I can hear the Father. Richard Foster has said, “Solitude doesn’t give us the power to win the rat race, but to ignore it altogether.”22

To “change frequencies,” contemplative prayer is needed so that thoughts are blocked out. Brennan Manning states:

[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer.23

Then, once thoughts have been halted through practicing contemplative prayer, an altered state is reached where our minds go into a kind of neutral state, and then, they say, we can finally hear the voice of God.24

The silence the Be Still DVD refers to is a special state of mind, different than normal prayer, and the DVD introduces an array of meditators from a number of religious persuasions to tell viewers about this state of silence. Participants in the DVD are promoters of everything from guided imagery to breath prayers to interspirituality. This infomercial for contemplative prayer is a deceptive collection of dangerous commentaries, and there should be a warning label on the cover—NSFA—Not Safe For Anyone.25

Shortly after the DVD was released, Lighthouse Trails editors spoke with Beth Moore’s personal assistant who said Moore did not have a problem with Richard Foster or Dallas Willard’s teachings. To reiterate this, Moore’s ministry, Living Proof Ministries, issued a  statement a few weeks after the release of the DVD that stated, “[W]e believe that once you view the Be Still video you will agree that there is no problem with its expression of Truth.”26 Living Proof offered to send a free copy of the DVD to anyone who received their e-mail statement and wished to view the DVD, saying that, “[I]t would be our privilege to do this for you to assure you that there is no problem with Beth’s participation in the Be Still video.”27 This statement was issued because several women contacted Moore’s ministry after reading the Lighthouse Trails report on the Be Still DVD.

In the Be Still DVD, Moore states: “[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.”28 When Moore says it is not possible to “truly know” He is God without “a stillness,” she is not talking about a quiet place to pray and spend time in God’s Word, but rather she is talking about a stillness of the mind—this is what contemplatives strive for—unless you practice this stillness of the mind, your relationship with the Lord is inadequate. According to Beth Moore, you don’t even know Him in the way you should.

Beth Moore and the Catholic Church
If you study the beliefs and history of contemplative prayer mystics, you will find that over time, they absorb interspiritual and panentheistic outlooks. This happened to Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning, for example. Proponents also begin to share an affinity with Catholicism, viewing it as a legitimate form of Christianity. That makes sense given that the mystical prayer practice came out of the Roman Catholic monasteries (via Thomas Merton, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, etc). A case in point is when in 2014 Beth Moore shared with a large audience a “vision” she claimed was from God. In order to illustrate her vision to her audience, she had a number of women come up on stage, and she divided them into various “denominational” groups, one of which was a group of Catholic women. She said she saw a community of these different groups that was “the church as Jesus sees it.”29

Someone who has become a significant part of Beth Moore’s ministry is TV Christian host, James Robison. Moore is one of the regular speakers on his show and resonates with his work. In a May 2014 article, Robison wrote:

I believe in the importance of unity among those who know Christ, who profess to be “Christians.” . . . I believe there is an important spiritual awakening beginning in the hearts of those truly committed to Christ in the Protestant and Catholic communities. Is it possible that Pope Francis may prove to be an answer not only to the prayers of Catholics, but also those known as Protestants?30

The fact that Moore sees the Catholic Church as a legitimate denomination within the Body of Christ is evidence that she shares Robison’s views. Apparently, they both see Catholicism as a valid practice.

Priscilla Shirer—A Strange Practice with Contemplative Origins
In her book, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, Priscilla Shirer writes:

As I meditate upon a verse, I will often insert my name or a personal pronoun into it to make it more personal. If I’m reading and meditating on a Bible story, I will become the main character so that it’s not merely someone else’s experience with God, but my own. I often ask myself what God would have me do as a result of what I contemplated.31 (emphasis added)

So, it would not be Moses, but Priscilla and the Burning Bush? (Exodus 3:2-4)

Not Elisabeth, but Priscilla, Mother of John the Baptist? (Luke 1:13)

Not Eve, but Priscilla, wife of Adam? (Genesis 2)

The Bible is very clear about the importance of preserving the Word of God— not altering it, not adding to it, and not taking away from it.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

One has to ask, where did Priscilla Shirer get this idea of inserting herself into God’s Word as Bible characters? It is very likely Shirer got this idea from contemplative teacher Jan Johnson. According to Priscilla Shirer:

Years ago, I got a chance to meet Jan Johnson. . . . I was encouraged and redirected in so many ways. As a young woman trying to navigate the ins and outs of my relationship with the Lord, Ms. Jan spoke wisdom into my life that was extremely pivotal in my life—personally and in ministry.32 (emphasis added)

Priscilla Shirer quotes Jan Johnson, an advocate of guided meditations, in her book Discerning the Voice of God.33 (Incidentally, Shirer also quotes Brother Lawrence, Dallas Willard, and other contemplatives in the book.)

On Jan Johnson’s website, it asks:

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be present in the Christmas story? How might you have felt if you were Zechariah or Elizabeth, Mary or Joseph? What if you had been an angel, a shepherd, or one of the wise men? In this online retreat featuring Jan Johnson’s Advent guide, you’ll be invited to become part of the events surrounding the birth of the Christ child. You’ll be invited to ‘taste and see’—to live inside the story for a while.34 (emphasis added)

People like Wycliffe and Tyndale died for the Word of God so that we could . . . pretend to replace saints and angels in Bible stories as if we were putting on clothes for a costume party? No, they did not. This practice doesn’t honor God or His Word.

Jan Johnson has an Ignatian background.35 Ignatius of Loyola was founder of the Jesuits and part of the Catholic church’s counter-reformation. To this day, the Jesuits make great efforts to win back the lost brethren to the Mother Church and are practitioners of contemplative prayer.36 According to one pro-Ignatian website:

Ignatian spirituality sees the same with the stories in the Bible. Our imagination can place ourselves in the boat with Jesus and his friends on the stormy sea. Or at the table at the Last Supper, listening in on the conversation, even participating. Ignatius says if we let our imagination free, not forcing it or “scripting” it, God can use it to show us something. I recall, in my own prayer, the vivid scene with Mary and Martha. I was one of their friends waiting for Jesus to arrive to raise from the dead our brother Lazarus. We spoke about Lazarus’ life and how much we missed him. But then our friend Jesus came along and brought him back to life. You should have seen the tears and embraces as the four of us rejoiced.37

When we read something like this, we cannot help but think of the admonition from Scripture: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

One writer describes Jan Johnson’s approach to meditating with Advent and Christmas stories: “Johnson invites readers to enter into the stories through a sort of neo-Ignatian approach she calls ‘participative meditation.’”38

There seems little doubt that Priscilla Shirer was influenced in more ways than one by Jan Johnson.

Not Safe For Anyone
Contemplative teachers will not advise believers to focus on a repetitive Eastern style mantra like “Ommm” (for example) but rather on a word or phrase like “Jesus” or “Abba Father” or a Scripture verse. In this way, the contemplative prayer appears “Christian” but nevertheless serves as entrance to the silence. Often, a practice called Lectio Divina is implemented. This is where words or phrases from Scripture or other books are repeated slowly to help get the focus off our thoughts and enter the contemplative silence.

The silence of contemplative prayer is rich ground for false visions, the voice of lying “christs,” and supernatural esoteric experiences. Author and research analyst Ray Yungen says that in contemplative prayer one can come into contact with familiar spirits because of the occult nature of contemplative, and in actuality, the silence found in contemplative prayer is a dangerous substitute for the Holy Spirit.

We realize that millions of women adore Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, and the notion that either woman would be tied in with an occultic-based New Age type mystical prayer movement would seem outlandish. But even one of the most widely read Christian magazines identifies Moore as a contemplative advocate in a 2010 Christianity Today cover story titled “First Came the Bible.”39

Some years ago, contemplative prayer defenders came up with a so-called answer to Christians who saw the connection between contemplative prayer and Eastern and New Age meditation. They said that New Age and Eastern practitioners strive to empty the mind whereas Christian contemplatives seek to fill the mind with God. But just because the intent may be different, the methods are the same, and the outcome is the same. One can be very well intentioned yet be very fully deceived.

We would like to say here that we have appreciated in the past the Kendrick brothers (producers of War Room) for their Christian, family-friendly films, Facing The Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous and found these to be inspiring contributions for the family. But we cannot say this about War Room because the movie is going to bring many women into the sphere of influence of Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore. At best, the use of these two women will send out a confusing message where a movie about prayer uses two major proponents of contemplative prayer to inspire its audience. We wish the Kendricks would have done their homework before making the decision to use two women who promote a dangerous mystical prayer practice in their movie about prayer.

It’s not likely that Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore see contemplative prayer as spiritually dangerous—nor will thousands, even potentially millions, of men and women who see War Room and subsequently buy Shirer or Moore’s books, or their Be Still DVD.

A Spiritual Awakening?
The Bible talks about a great falling away and multitudes being deceived prior to the Lord’s return. But Christian leaders today aren’t warning about that; rather, they are telling everyone that we are on the brink of a great spiritual awakening.

“Spiritual awakening” has become a “mantra” within evangelical Christianity. Terms like One, Awaken, Awake, Great Awakening, Spiritual Awakening, are being broadcasted throughout the church. While it is a good thing to desire true repentance and revival, how can leaders who embrace a mystical spirituality and who don’t understand spiritual deception (and are even participating in spiritual deception) help bring about true revival?

In 2013, Beth Moore spoke at James Robison’s Awake Now Conference and said that God showed her a great spiritual awakening is coming. Interestingly, Moore warned that audience of over 4000 people about those who would question this great awakening and “downpour”:

But we must be prepared in advance for scoffers. I will say that again. We must be prepared in advance for scoffers. And here’s the thing. The unbelieving world scoffing is not going to bother us that much. We’re used to them thinking that we are idiots. . . . That’s not what’s going to bother us so much. What’s going to bother us, and I believe that God is saying, “Get prepared for it so you know in advance it is coming” so when it does happen you’re not all disturbed and all rocked by it because it is going to come from some in our own Christian realm—our own brothers and sisters. We’re going to have people that are honestly going to want to debate and argue with us about awakening and downpours. What do you want here? They’re going to say, that’s not the way it should look.

You know what, dude? I’m just asking you, are you thirsty? Are you hungry? I can’t think of the way to the semantics to get it like you want it. But I will say to you, I’m just thirsty, and I’m hungry. But there will be scoffers, and they will be the far bigger threat, the one within our own brothers and sisters, our own family of God—far, far more demoralizing. And yes, it will come from bullies, and yes, it will come from the mean-spirited.40

As if giving a prophetic warning, Beth Moore is setting the stage to marginalize discerning Christians who would question this great “spiritual awakening.” In other words, no one should dare challenge the leaders of this coming spiritual awakening even though Scripture instructs us to be good Bereans and to test all things with the Word of God.

Beth Moore’s statement that Brennan Manning’s contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel” has serious implications. Beatrice Bruteau, whom Manning said is a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness,” wrote the foreword to a book called The Mystic Heart by New Ager Wayne Teasdale. That book actually lays out the groundwork that contemplative prayer will unite Christianity with all the world’s religions at a mystical level. The complete union of all the world’s religions cannot be accomplished  without a form of mysticism (which removes all “doctrinal” barriers) within Christianity—and that form is contemplative prayer, the very thing that War Room’s two actresses promote.

Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. (Isaiah 2:6)

To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them, click here.

Endnotes:
1. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2007 edition), p. 39
2. Beth Moore, Be Still DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, April 2006), section: “Contemplative Prayer: The Divine Romance Between God and Man”
3. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, op. cit.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), p. 109.
7. Ibid., p. 60.
8. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 126-127.
9. Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, op. cit., pp. 72-73.
10. Beatrice Bruteau interview: The Song That Goes On Singing (http://integralpostmetaphysics.ning.com/forum/topics/beatrice-bruteau-the-song-that).
11. Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994), p. 180.
12. Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996, Revised Edition),  p. 218.
13. Ibid., p. 203.
14. Ibid., p. 200.
15. Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, op. cit., p. 290.
16. Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2000 Edition), p. 212.
17.  M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke, Finding Grace at the Center  (Petersham, MA: St. Bede’s Pub., 1978), pp. 5-6; cited from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p.64 by Ray Yungen.
18. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, op. cit.
19. Whitney Hopler, “‘Be Still’ Invites Viewers to Discover Contemplative Prayer” (Crosswalk.com, March 27, 2006, http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/be-still-invites-viewers-to-discover-contemplative-prayer-1386003.html?ps=0), citing Amy Reinhold, Producer and Director of Be Still DVD.
20. Priscilla Shirer, Be Still DVD, op, cit., section: “Alone With God.”
21. Priscilla Shirer’s website: http://www.goingbeyond.com/ministry/ministry-faqs.
22. Lance Witt, “Enjoying God’s Presence in Solitude” (Rick Warren’s original Pastors.com website: http://web.archive.org/web/20060510014820/www.pastors.com/RWMT/?id=59&artid=2043&expand=1).
23. Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus, op. cit., p. 212.
24. Ray Yungen introduced this idea in his book A Time of Departing, chapter 1, page 15: In explaining how the mind is put into a neutral state during contemplative prayer: “The meditation most of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking about something. But New Age meditation entails just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to still the mind by putting it in the equivalent of pause or neutral. A comparison would be that of turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond. When meditation is employed, stopping the free flow of thinking, it holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where the mind dwells on a subject. Visit www.atimeofdeparting.com.
25. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/bestilldvd.htm.
26. May 26, 2006 statement from Living Proof Ministries: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/bethmoorestatement.htm.
27. Ibid.
28. Beth Moore, Be Still DVD, op. cit.
29. Lighthouse Trails Editors, “Is Beth Moore’s ‘Spiritual Awakening’ Taking the Evangelical Church Toward Rome?” (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15914). You can watch the video clip of Moore at this event on this page.
30. James Robison, “Pope Francis on Life Today” (http://www.jamesrobison.net/pope-francis).
31. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, op. cit., p. 39.
32.  http://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/wisbits.
33. Ibid., pp. 145-46.
34. http://www.janjohnson.org/taste_-_see.html
35. Jan Johnson, Education: BA, Christian education, Ozark Christian College; journalism courses, UCLA; spirituality courses, Azusa Pacific University; graduate, Academy for Spiritual Formation; Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola 30-day Retreat, 2006; D.Min. Graduate Theological Foundation (Ignatian Spirituality & Spiritual Direction), 2006.
36. Read Roger Oakland’s article, “The Jesuit Agenda” to understand more about the Jesuits (see www.lighthousetrails.com under booklet tracts).
37. godinallthings.com/2012/05/24/dreams-imagination.
38. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2014/11/early-christmas-joy-meditating-with-the-advent-and-christmas-stories.
39. Halee Gray Scott, “First Came the Bible” (Christianity Today, August 2010, Vol. 54, No. 8, Pg 27, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/august/19.27.html).
40. You can view this at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4CYqHhCwsE.

To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them, click here.

Appendix (included in the booklet)
The Nature Behind Contemplative Spirituality
By Ray Yungen
Many Christians might have great difficulty accepting the assessment that what is termed Christian mysticism is, in truth, not Christian at all. They might feel this rejection is spawned by a heresy-hunting mentality that completely ignores the love and devotion to God that also accompanies the mystical life. To those who are skeptical, I suggest examining the writings of Philip St. Romain, who wrote a book about his journey into contemplative prayer called Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality. This title is revealing because kundalini is a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality. In Hinduism, it is commonly referred to as the serpent power.

St. Romain, a substance abuse counselor and devout Catholic lay minister, began his journey while practicing contemplative prayer or resting in the still point, as he called it. What happened to him following this practice should bear the utmost scrutiny from the evangelical community—especially from its leadership. The future course of evangelical Christianity rests on whether St. Romain’s path is just a fluke or if it is the norm for contemplative spirituality.

Having rejected mental prayer as “unproductive,”1 he embraced the prayer form that switches off the mind, creating what he described as a mental passivity. What he encountered next underscores my concern with sobering clarity:

Then came the lights! The gold swirls that I had noted on occasion began to intensify, forming themselves into patterns that both intrigued and captivated me . . . There were always four or five of these; as soon as one would fade, another would appear, even brighter and more intense . . . They came through complete passivity and only after I had been in the silence for a while. 2 (emphasis mine)

After this, St. Romain began to sense “wise sayings” coming into his mind and felt he was “receiving messages from another.”3 He also had physical developments occur during his periods in the silence. He would feel “prickly sensations” on the top of his head and at times it would “fizzle with energy.”4 This sensation would go on for days. The culmination of St. Romain’s mystical excursion was predictable—when you do Christian yoga or Christian Zen you end up with Christian samadhi as did he. He proclaimed:

No longer is there any sense of alienation, for the Ground that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation. It seems that the mystics of all the world’s religions know something of this.5

St. Romain, logically, passed on to the next stage with:

[T]he significance of this work, perhaps, lies in its potential to contribute to the dialogue between Christianity and Eastern forms of mysticism such as are promoted in what is called New Age spirituality.6

Many people believe St. Romain is a devout Christian. He claims he loves Jesus, believes in salvation, and is a member in good standing within his church. What changed though were his sensibilities. He says:

I cannot make any decisions for myself without the approbation of the inner adviser, whose voice speaks so clearly in times of need . . . there is a distinct sense of an inner eye of some kind “seeing” with my two sense eyes.7

St. Romain would probably be astounded that somebody would question his claims to finding truth because of the positive nature of his mysticism. But is this “inner adviser” with whom St. Romain has connected really God? This is a fair question to ask especially when this prayer method has now spread within a broad spectrum of Christianity.

St. Romain makes one observation in his book that I take very seriously. Like his secular practical mystic brethren, he has a strong sense of mission and destiny. He predicts:

Could it be that those who make the journey to the True Self are, in some ways, demonstrating what lies in store for the entire race? What a magnificent world that would be—for the majority of people to be living out of the True Self state. Such a world cannot come, however, unless hundreds of thousands of people experience the regression of the Ego in the service of transcendence [meditation], and then restructure the culture to accommodate similar growth for millions of others. I believe we are only now beginning to recognize this task.8

A book titled Metaphysical Primer: A Guide to Understanding Metaphysics outlines the basic laws and principles of the New Age movement. First and foremost is the following principle:

You are one with the Deity, as is all of humanity . . . Everything is one with everything else. All that is on Earth is an expression of the One Deity and is permeated with Its energies.9

St. Romain’s statement was, “[T]he Ground [God] that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation.”10 The two views are identical!

St. Romain came to this view through standard contemplative prayer, not Zen, not yoga but a Christian form of these practices.

Without the mystical connection, there can be no oneness. The second always follows the first. Here lies the heart of occultism.

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. People who promote a presumably godly form of spirituality can indeed come against the truth of Christ.

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 Christianity. 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!”

To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them, click here.

Appendix Endnotes:
1. Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1995), p. 24.
2. Ibid., pp. 20-21.
3. Ibid., pp. 22-23.
4. Ibid., pp. 28-29.
5. Ibid., p. 107.
6. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
7. Ibid., p. 39.
8. Ibid., pp. 75-76.
9. Deborah Hughes and Jane Robertson-Boudreaux, Metaphysical Primer: A Guide to Understanding Metaphysics (Estes Park, CO: Metagnosis Pub., 1991), p. 27.
10. St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, op. cit., p. 107.

To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them, click here.

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