Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’
By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries
An event of great significance is taking place. Mike Bickle of International House of Prayer is (very quietly) partnering with the Catholic Church for the Onething Christian Conference (Dec. 28-31, 2012).
The Catholic Track is theoretically separate from the International House Of Prayer Track at the IHOP Onething Christian Conference 2012. Except that people can go to either–and when Catholic and Christian kids are in hotels for four days during Onething, they will definitely be going to whatever is happening at Onething. The fact that Bickle is doing this sends the message that the Catholic Church is part of the Body Of Christ.
So, the Catholics are making a very big deal out of this. On the IHOP-KC/Onething website, not a peep so far. Lots of Onething Conference info–excluding the fact of Catholic participation. Click here to continue reading.
On October 22, Multnomah University (formerly Multnomah School of the Bible) held a chapel service for their students titled Lectio Divina. The chapel was led by Dr. Roy Andrews of Multnomah, a Lighthouse Trails reader told us this past week. The Lighthouse Trails reader, who attended the service for observation purposes, was given a flyer at the service that explained what Lectio Divina was. Thomas Aquinas, a contemplative mystic, was referred to in the service, and students were encouraged to “ask God to open [their minds]” using Lectio Divina. The following statement is posted on Multnomah’s website:
If you aren’t sure what Lectio Divina is, we encourage you to read our article “Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why it is a Dangerous Practice” to better understand this contemplative gateway practice. This excerpt from our article states:
Contemplative mysticism pioneer Thomas Keating explains what lectio divina is not. It is not traditional Bible study, not reading the Scriptures for understanding and edification, and not praying the Scriptures (though praying the Scriptures can be a form of lectio divina when a word or phrase is taken from the Scriptures to focus on for the purpose of going into “God’s presence.”). Keating says that lectio divina is an introduction into the more intense practices – contemplative prayer and centering prayer. [Taken from “The Classical Monastic Practice of Lectio Divina” by Thomas Keating.]
While some people think lectio divina is just reading Scripture slowly, and what’s wrong with that, it is the focusing on and repeating a word or small phrase to facilitate going into the “silence” that is the real danger.
October 22nd wasn’t the first time that Lectio Divina has been taught at a chapel service at Multnomah University. One was held earlier this year on May 8th with Stan Campbell leading. One was also held on September 18th with Stan Campbell, on October 2nd with Dr. Joseph Zichtermann, and three will be held in November: on November 1st of this year with Professor Greg Burch officiating, on November 12th, and on November 27th with Dr. Debi Miller facilitating. Incidentally, on Dr. Miller’s website, she states the following: “I love several Catholic writers—Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, to name two.” 1 This may explain why she was willing to lead a Lectio Divina service at Multnomah. But nevertheless, it is disheartening to know that Multnomah is using professors that “love” Catholic mystics, Nouwen and Merton being two of the most prolific and influential Catholic contemplatives in our modern day.
Multnomah University is on the Lighthouse Trails “Contemplative Colleges” list as they have been promoting spiritual formation for some time. Just type in the term “spiritual formation” into the school search engine dozens of entries come up. As we worked our way through the Multnomah website while researching for this article, we were dismayed as we saw just how integrated contemplative spirituality has become at Multnomah. One university donor officer at the school included Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Parker Palmer, and John Eldredge (all contemplative advocates) in his list of “favorite authors.” A professor said Henri Nouwen was someone who “inspire[s]” him.
For what it’s worth, on a Wikipedia page for Multnomah University, “notable” alumni students of Multnomah include emerging church author and pastor Dan Kimball. Interestingly, in the spring of 2011, the school held a high school “theology” retreat with Kimball as the keynote speaker. That’s a bit hard to swallow for those who know Kimball’s “theology” learned from his books, which include The Emerging Church and Emerging Worship. His books are discussed in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland and A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen; also, Lighthouse Trails has a book review on Kimball’s book “They Like Jesus But Not the Church.” And an expose titled “Dan Kimball’s Emerging Church and Eastern Mysticism” describes Kimball’s “vintage Christianity.” In a radio interview titled “Beware the Bridgers,” Ingrid Schlueter discusses how emerging figures such as Kimball are being used as bridges between traditional Christianity and the emerging church. Seeing that Multnomah brought Kimball in to train high school students “theology” is, frankly, quite troubling. In reading all three of his books, we find his “theology” riddled with contemplative/emerging practices and would wish that no high school student would be introduced to these ideas. Oh, and by the way, in his book, The Emerging Church, Kimball encourages the practice of Lectio Divina.
Lighthouse Trails has been talking and warning about the infiltration of contemplative spirituality into the church for ten years. The acceptance and embracing of Lectio Divina is going to help surge the movement fast forward because of its seemingly benign nature but in reality a very dangerous practice, and more and more Christians will be practicing contemplative prayer than ever before. Contemplatives, such as Richard Foster, will delight in knowing this. But for those who understand the nature of contemplative – that it is panentheistic, interspiritual, and ultimately anti-atonement – it will concern them deeply.
Let us close with this statement by Ray Yungen. In reading this, it may help to explain why contemplative spirituality should not be entertained at Multnomah or any other Christian school:
Those who have studied [Thomas] Merton from a critical point of view, such as myself, have tried to understand what are the roots behind Merton’s spiritual affinities. [Henri] Nouwen explains that Merton was influenced by LSD mystic Aldous Huxley who “brought him to a deeper level of knowledge” and “was one of Merton’s favorite novelists.” It was through Huxley’s book, Ends and Means, that first brought Merton “into contact with mysticism.” Merton states:
“He [Huxley] had read widely and deeply and intelligently in all kinds of Christian and Oriental mystical literature, and had come out with the astonishing truth that all this, far from being a mixture of dreams and magic and charlatanism, was very real and very serious.”
This is why, Nouwen revealed, Merton’s mystical journey took him right into the arms of Buddhism:
“Merton learned from him [Chuang Tzu—a Taoist] what Suzuki [a Zen master] had said about Zen: “Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake and become aware.”
Become aware of what? The Buddha nature. Divinity within all.That is why Merton said if we knew what was in each one of us, we would bow down and worship one another. Merton’s descent into contemplative led him to the belief that God is in all things and that God is all things. This is made clear by Merton when he said:
“True solitude is a participation in the solitariness of God—Who is in all things.”
“[ChuangTzu] awakened and led him [Merton] . . . to the deeper ground of his consciousness.”
This has been the ploy of Satan since the Garden of Eden when the serpent said to Eve, “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:4). It is this very essence that is the foundation of contemplative prayer. (From Chapter 9, “The Christian of the Future” in A Time of Departing, 2nd ed. by Ray Yungen)
Times have changed. If Lectio Divina had been introduced to an evangelical university in the 1980s, everyone would have been up in arms. But today it is considered perfectly normal and legitimate. We attribute much of this acceptance to the rise of general mysticism in the culture (e.g., yoga, Oprah Winfrey, and the popularity of Christian authors such as Brennan Manning who says in his book The Signature of Jesus that if you want to have the signature of Jesus on your prayer life you need to “Choose a single, sacred word . . . repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often” (p. 218) and says, ” the first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer” (p. 212).
The quotes in the section from A Time of Departing are taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book, Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row Publishers, 1991, Triumph Books Edition), pp. 3, 19, 20, 46, 71.
Biblegateway, “an online searchable Bible in dozens of versions and languages” is one of the most popular websites on the Internet today, ranking in the top 1000 sites in the world. Over 48,000 websites link to or recommend Biblegateway. Needless to say, their reach is substantial. Thus, it is with dismay to report that on their official blog this past September, Biblegateway introduced their readers to the contemplative practice of Lectio Divina in an article written by Brian Hardin called “Lectio Divina: Diving Reading.”
The teaching on Lectio Divina on Biblegateway doesn’t come as a complete surprise to Lighthouse Trails. Two years ago, Lighthouse Trails released a special report titled “Bible Gateway Now Gateway to Heretical Authors – Could Point Millions to Emerging Teachings .” The article quoted Biblegateway’s site as saying:
Of course, it’s critical that any advertising on Bible Gateway reflects our Christian values and does not conflict with our mission. That means we carefully screen the ads that appear on Bible Gateway, and we don’t use ads in ways that interfere with your ability to read and study Scripture.”
In our article, John Lanagan pointed out how the Biblegateway online bookstore was selling books by figures such as Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Thomas Merton, Doug Pagitt, and many other authors who come into conflict with “Christian values.” In preparing our special report, Lanagan contacted Biblegateway general manager, Rachel Barach, who told Lanagan that the choices of books in Biblegateway’s online store were not really up to her but rather third party databases. In the case of the blog, this would be a different matter, and there would be more control over content by those running it (Rachel and two others are the “contributors”).
The recent article posted on the Biblegateway blog, teaching Lectio Divina, promises to have more articles of a similar nature. For those who do not understand exactly what Lectio Divina is, please refer to our article titled, “Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why it is a Dangerous Practice” where we discuss Lectio Divina in depth. In that article, we state:
Contemplative mysticism pioneer Thomas Keating explains what lectio divina is not. It is not traditional Bible study, not reading the Scriptures for understanding and edification, and not praying the Scriptures (though praying the Scriptures can be a form of lectio divina when a word or phrase is taken from the Scriptures to focus on for the purpose of going into “God’s presence.”).1 Keating says that lectio divina is an introduction into the more intense practices – contemplative prayer and centering prayer.
At Lighthouse Trails, we believe Lectio Divina is a gateway practice into deep meditation exercises as it teaches participants to narrow down a passage of Scripture to a word or phrase that can be repeated in mantra-like fashion.
As we are watching Lectio Divina entering the mainstream evangelical church at a now-rapid rate, we know it is just a matter of time before more outright eastern-style meditation practices will be heralded by leaders in the Christian church. The ground was prepared when Christian leaders started heavily promoting and quoting the mystics and promoting and teaching “spiritual formation.” Teaching Lectio Divina is the next big step toward full embracing of contemplative spirituality, which will lead to apostasy as never before seen by the Christian church with its interspiritual, panentheistic, and anti-atonement roots.
In the Lighthouse Trails novel, Castles in the Sand, written by Canadian author Carolyn A. Greene (the only novel exposing the dangers of spiritual formation), the young girl in the story is enrolled in a Christian college and is introduced to Lectio Divina. In time, the girl encounters demonic activity because of practicing contemplative spirituality. While Castles in the Sand is a novel, it is based on the true story of what is happening in the church today. It should not be ignored by believers who wish to contend for the faith.
Those who practice mystical meditation will, in time, change their spiritual outlook. They may convert to Catholicism, or they may start embracing Buddhist or Hindu views. But they will not gain an “appreciation for the Bible,” something Biblegateway says they hope will happen to people reading their blog.
SOME PLACES YOU WILL FIND LECTIO DIVINA BEING TAUGHT AND/OR PROMOTED:
1. Multnomah (School of the Bible) University just finished a Lectio Divina Chapel on October 22nd.
3. Renovare (Richard Foster’s organization)
4. Willow Creek
7. Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Tim Keller)
9. Eugene Peterson’s “Bible” for kids
When a Young Girl Meets a Mystic by Carolyn A. Greene
New Age Pathways in the Church by Mike Oppenheimer
- October 11 – Greetings of the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, to the Synod of Bishops XIII Ordinary General Assembly on 7-28 October 2013 in Rome
- October 9 – Protestants no longer the majority in US, study says
- October 10 – US church calls to reevaluate military aid to Israel
- October 2 – New software uses smartphone camera for spying
- October 13 – UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013
- October 17 – Representatives of Christian Denominations Address Synod
The Telegraph UK: Archbishop of Canterbury: “meditation [for children] is the key to living in this insane world”
LTRP Note: The following is posted for research and informational purposes and not as an endorsement.
“Schoolchildren and people with no religious background should be encouraged to try meditation as a way to help them understand Christianity, the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested.”
By John Bingam
The Telegraph UK
Dr Rowan Williams said people in the modern world were struggling with “chaotic” emotions as a result of living in an “insane” consumerist society driven by advertising and the banking system.
He called for a revival of centuries-old monastic traditions to help people become “properly human”.
His call came during an important address to the Pope and the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church from around the world at the Vatican last night.
Benedict XVI invited Dr Williams, as leader of the Anglican Communion, as well as the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, to address the Synod of Bishops in a gesture of reconciliation with other churches.
The gathering had been discussing how the Catholic Church, with its traditions, can reach out to increasingly secular societies. Dr Williams used his address to urge the Church to revive traditions of silent prayer and meditation, as practised by Benedictine monks. Click here to continue reading.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I just received the latest edition of The Baptist Standard. It has been one of the leading state papers in Southern Baptist work. Though independent in production now, it has been closely associated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas through the years. The BGCT Executive Director’s article appears beneath the Standard editor’s article in each issue.
I have been increasingly concerned about the drift toward a more liberal position in the paper, but the articles on contemplative worship blew me away this week [see below]. There is nothing in Baptist tradition about contemplative worship. While churches in Virginia have certainly been pulling away from historical Baptist roots, I just wasn’t prepared for these patently false articles. The practice of contemplative worship has nothing to do with the priesthood of the believer. That is a lie.
“Contemplative worship: It’s not just a Catholic thing”
“Contemplative worship consistent with Baptist principles”
I have just recently found your site. Am trying to pass the word around. God bless.
LTRP Note: In doing a little research at the Baptist Standard website, one can see that the publication has been posting pro-contemplative articles for sometime. Here is a sampling:
July 2012: On Taize worship
February 2011: On Catholicism and Phyllis Tickle
January 2011: On Thomas Merton and Spiritual Formation
July 2010: On Yoga
February 2009: On the labyrinth
December 2008: On Thomas Merton
February 2008: On Silence, Solitude, and Lectio Divina
June 2006: On the labyrinth
June 2005: On Richard Foster and Dallas Willard
- August 13 – A Step Forward Towards Reconciliation Between Catholics and Orthodox Churches
- August 8 – Atheism on the Rise in Asian and European Nations, Poll Finds
- August 16 – Bloomberg, NYPD announce $30 million surveillance system
- August 16 – Panama statue of Virgin Mary to rise taller than Statue of Liberty
- August 16 – Spanish politicians implore Virgin Mary’s help amid economic crisis
- August 15 – Mary’s assumption into heaven fosters hope on earth, Pope teaches
- August 15 – Devotion to Mary profoundly biblical, Argentinean bishop says
- August 18 – The Happy Priest: The Importance of a Eucharistic Life