Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’
Focus on the Family’s Adventures of Odyssey Has “Eugene” Going to a Monastery – Moody Radio Broadcasts Program
Thank you for that article from Dave Dombrowski on Sounding the Trumpet. I had my radio on KMBI (Moody) and they had Eugene [from Focus on the Family's Adventure's in Odyssey] going to a monastery to experience “silence.” I have heard this episode in the past. It is episode # 366.
Note from Lighthouse Trails: In January of 2007, we posted the following:
On January 9th , Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey (their program for children) presented a show called “Solitary Refinement.” Much like the recent Fox Home Video production, Be Still, “Solitary Refinement” is an infomercial for Contemplative Spirituality. Talking about going to monasteries to learn the disciplines of silence and solitude, getting rid of distractions and thoughts in order to hear God, the program makes references throughout that encourage children to practice the “spiritual disciplines,” with a particular emphasis on the disciplines of silence and solitude. Anyone who has been researching and studying the contemplative prayer movement will understand the message in this presentation.
The original air date of this Adventures in Odyssey episode was 1996. This means that 11[now 15] years ago, long before contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) had become mainstream in Christianity, as it has today, Focus on the Family was already heading in this direction. Now over a decade later, they are reintroducing the episode to a new generation of children. Interestingly though, it first aired several years after Rick Warren said that the Spiritual Formation movement was a vital and needed wake up call to the body of Christ (see Purpose Driven Church).
If your children listen to the Adventures in Odyssey, we encourage you to monitor this show as it may introduce your children to non-biblical spirituality.
Click here to listen to this episode: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/adventures-in-odyssey/listen/solitary-refinement-231583.html
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
(used with permission)
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
I’m pasting in below the comments I sent to Dennis Rainey at www.familylifetoday.com, after hearing their radio program today, promoting Gerald Sittser’s new book, “Water From a Deep Well.” Please inform your readers:
Dear Family Life,
Please take seriously my caution on promoting the idea that the teaching of the Desert Fathers is a quest to return to some “lost disciplines” of an assumed “authentic Christianity” from the ancient past. If one does responsible research, tons of documentation shows the “Desert Fathers” were … early Roman Catholics, frustrated with their lack of “experiencing God” within the confines of the sacramental-based way of “salvation” taught in the RCC. They denied the new birth by grace through faith and continue to today. They were not “Christian” by biblical definition from the start. If one studies their writings honestly, he will discover that they sought to combine the mystical experiences of eastern mysticism with the fundamentals of Roman Catholicism to gain “direct revelation and experiences” with spiritual entities they only assumed to be the God of the Bible. The dangers of this serve as clear warnings (1 Tim.4:1, 2; 2 Tim.4:1-5).
We cannot assume that practicing what they preached and promoted as “ways to God” will lead us there just because that is our intent. Employing the advocated practices, techniques and methods of “approaching God” gleaned from religions outside the unique confines of biblical Christianity is a dangerous endeavor. Faith in not blind. Just because they professed to be “seeking God” to achieve “deeper intimacy” with God is no reason to trust their teaching without the scrutiny of Scripture.
To seek God through these and similar Contemplative practices is an atheological exercise in deception. With all due respect, Dr. Sittser is wrong with his entire premise, just as Richard Foster was wrong in his identical premise in his 1978 book, “The Celebration of Discipline.” It is no wonder that Dr. Eugene Peterson has written the forward to Sittser’s book, as he and Richard Foster have headed the “Renovare’ Movement” for “Spiritual Formation” for a number of years. I encourage you to do your homework and have supplied a link to make is easy for you:
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/researchtopics.htm . Just type in “Foster” or Renovare and read till your heart’s content.
Please know also that the premises these men posit are foundational to the Emerging Church thinking ravaging the churches today. You do not want to stand before the Lord one day, having promoted Sittser’s thesis. (See also Roger Oakland’s book: ”Faith Undone” and former New Ager Warren Smith’s book, “The Light That Was Dark,” & Ray Yungen’s, “A Time of Departing.”
Because He Lives and I Care
Lighthouse Trails has written in the past about Breakforth, an annual conference that takes place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada each year, because of its promotion of emerging and contemplative speakers. What makes this conference even more spiritually dangerous is that the speaker list is a mixture of truth and apostasy. For example, one year both Kay Arthur and Tony Campolo shared the platform. When we contacted Arthur’s ministry, we were told that she will speak anywhere she is invited to share her message. Another year, Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti shared the platform with Leonard Sweet, a New Age sympathizing colleague of Rick Warren’s and William Paul Young, author of The Shack. Rosenberg’s defense: he’ll speak anywhere he is invited to.
The problem is, by seemingly solid teachers sharing platforms with those who outright teach and promote anti-biblical ideas (such as contemplative/centering prayer) a lot of confusion and misleading information is brought into the church. If Kay Arthur gets up on stage just before Tony Campolo, those attending will assume that Arthur has no serious problems with Campolo’s teachings, and so on. Of course, if Kay Arthur got up and told the crowd that Tony Campolo was teaching anti-biblical doctrines, then maybe she could justify herself. But to our knowledge, no such brave talk goes on by speakers at the Breakforth conference (or any other Christian conference where there is this mixture of truth and error).
Most of the speakers at the Breakforth conferences would fall into the contemplative/emerging camps (At least one in 2012 is a Catholic convert). It is difficult not to wonder why they are even bringing in people like Kay Arthur, Josh McDowell, and Frank Peretti, names that so far are not promoting contemplative prayer or emerging spirituality. Could it possibly be to give their emerging conference some credibility among the general populace of the evangelical church? Whether intentionally or not, by bringing them, it is indeed giving their agenda credibility.
Below is some research one of our Canadian readers sent us last week about the upcoming Breakforth in 2012 where Ann Graham-Lotz and Josh McDowell will share the platform with emerging figures Erwin McManus and Tony Campolo. Contemplative advocate Gary Thomas will also be there. (We have a few comments of our own, which you will find in brackets [ ].
To Lighthouse Trails:
The dates for BreakForth are January 27-29, 2012. Registration costs $99 – $209 for the weekend starting Friday night. Rates vary depending on how big your group is and how early you register,
I read most of the 12-page BreakForth newspaper last night, and it is a real mix.
Some of the topics appeal to me:
John and Sean McDowell on “The New Tolerance”
“. . . See how research shows that the majority of our church people have distorted beliefs about Christ and Christianity. Josh teaches critical steps we need to take to reverse this alarming trend . . . .”
Joe Amaral (don’t know him) “Understanding Jesus” “. . .back in time to the Jewish culture of Jesus.”
”God’s Holy Days.”
”The Passover Prophecies”
”Ancient Wedding Feast”
Hans Weichbrodt (don’t know him) “Jet Tour through Ezekiel”
”Daniel’s 70th Week”
”The Jewish Temple”
”Heaven — Our Eternal Future!”
Here’s my biggest objection to BreakForth 2012. The Main Assemblies.
Registrants attend four main assemblies and may choose elective for five sessions.
Friday night main assembly Erwin McManus and Arlen Salte (Arlen is a musician and the organizer of BreakForth)
Saturday morning “ Anne Graham Lotz and Brenton Brown
Saturday night ” Tony Campolo and Paul Baloche
Sunday afternoon “ Nick Vujicic and Robin Mark
That’s means every registrant will hear Erwin McManus and Tony Campolo!
Many of the speakers I don’t know. Some of them I read years ago, but I don’t know their doctrinal position now.
Erwin McManus “Capacity: Increasing Your Leadership EQ” “. . . Come learn about leadership that brings intrinsic change.”
Dr. Chris Alford “A pioneer on Ancient-Future renewal . . . .”
”Robert Webber said ‘The road to the future runs through the past.’”
”. . . then defines and unpacks Ancient-Future Worship Renewal.”
Gary Thomas “Sacred Pathways” “Experienced spiritual directors recognize the futility of ‘one size fits all’ spirituality. . . . ”
”Growing with the Classics” “Gary will explain why the great ancient writings are so important for everyone to be familiar with. You’ll learn guidelines for getting the most out of this spiritual discipline and show how our pursuit of seeking intimacy with God can be greatly bolstered with ancient wisdom.”
”The Ministry of the Thorn” “Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Teresa of Avila had splitting migraines. Augustine was threatened by a marauding horde . ”
Other sessions I don’t know the speakers and I’m not sure of the content. I would put a question mark beside them until I could do more research.
Mark Virkler ”4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice” [Mark Virkler is a contemplative advocate]
”Prayers that Heal the Heart”
”Prayer will allow you to use the language of the heart to break generational sins and curses, sever ungodly soul ties, replace negative beliefs with God’s promises and experience healing.”
”. . .We will try this together and learn to listen to God’s voice.”
Julie Drew ”Painting Prayers”
Simon Guillebaud “Screaming Injustice”
Bill & Pam Farrel ”Red Hot Monogamy”
3 electives under ”Soaking” with Jared Anderson, Dr. Chris Alford, and Brenton Brown
Audrey Assad ”. . . This hour will be focused on deepening prayer in the interest of true spiritual rest . . . . ” [Assad is a convert to Catholicism.]
What a state the church is in when we need to be suspicious of sessions on Prayer!
From the blurbs, I would assume the Gospel is missing from the sessions for the youth.
iNFuZion Ages 14-18 Bill Rice and Zoro
the EdgE Over 18 Simon Guillebaud and Zoro
Topics – Radical Living, Living Your Destiny, Dangerous People
Phrases – “how to live a life without limits,”
”live on the edge and make a difference,”
”Did Jesus really call us to live a life of radical love when there are so many haters around?”
”. . . a life of dynamic action and purpose,”
”. . . understanding and developing your God-given gifts and reveals strategies for fulfilling your divine purpose on earth,”
“Stand in awe of God’s ability to transform lives and fuel dreams!”
”. . . moved from being a poor kid from the streets of L.A. to one who achieved his dreams on some of the biggest stages of the world through the power of God!”
”take a look at how to become a dreamer of the day — someone who acts out their dreams with open eyes to make them happen,”
”Life is an adventure to be lived.”
Lighthouse Trails Editor:”My Journey Out of Catholicism (and why the Catholic Church is not reformable)”
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
Over the years, I have encountered many Christians who wonder, “What’s wrong with being Catholic? After all, they believe in the Cross; they believe Jesus is the Son of God. It can’t be all that bad.” If you are a Christian who has wondered about these things, this special testimonial report is for you.
I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic, so I am writing of things I know about and lived with for over thirty years. From my earliest childhood, I had a hunger and a thirst for God. I largely attribute this to my mother who instilled in me the love and reverence for God that she had. Born and raised in Poland, she grew up Catholic, but when she was about thirteen years old, while kneeling in a chapel alone, she invited Jesus Christ into her heart to be Lord of her life. Just prior to this, she had lost both her parents to mushroom poisoning. Jesus filled a void in her life that carried her through many difficult years. Years later, she shared with me that this must have been her born-again experience, though in the Catholic church she had not heard of such terminology; altar calls and making decisions to receive Christ were totally alien to her experience.
The fact is that there has never been a place in the Catholic church for evangelistic crusades and personal decisions because every child raised Catholic is brought up with the belief that he is automatically “Christian” because he was baptized as an infant. In years past, many Anabaptists were burned at the stake because they recognized the fallacy and false assurance associated with infant baptism.
I guess I could accurately say that my mother had a personal relationship with the Lord, not because of Catholicism but in spite of it. As in her case, few Catholics even realize or understand what Catholicism really teaches and how the actual doctrines and teachings are polar opposites to biblical Christianity. Yes, the Catholic Church does teach morals, as do most religions, but when it comes to salvation, the actual teachings hinder and prevent the lost from finding The Way.
As a little boy, I had a very firm belief in God, and I knew that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the Cross for my sins. I grew up as a religious boy, but my consciousness of sin and my sense of guilt never escaped me. As I grew to adolescence and then adulthood, the realization of my own sinfulness haunted me all the more. I can still remember one snowy night in winter in Portland, Oregon when I was nineteen; although it was nearly midnight, I decided to go for a walk. The moonlit snow enabled me to see my way clearly, and looking up at the stars that night somehow made me feel in touch with God. I still remember saying out loud to God at that moment, “God, I believe if I were to die tonight, I would go to Hell; and if that is going to change, you’re going to have to do something.” This was one of those rare moments where I was completely honest with God and addressed Him in a manner other than the rote, memorized prayer I was taught in the Catholic church.
I suppose if one thing can be said for Catholicism, it can help foster a sense of guilt in a practicing Catholic. My church life consisted of confessing my sins to a priest on a weekly basis, then receiving “absolution” only to come back the following week riddled with sin and guilt again. I think few Catholics and even fewer Protestants actually know or understand the Catholic way of “salvation”; yet it is still printed in the Baltimore Catechism that we are saved by our participation in the sacraments. Central to Catholicism, in fact its very focal point, is the sacrament of the Eucharist where it is believed that bread and wine are literally transformed into the body and blood of Jesus. The implications of this belief, although unbiblical, may seem innocent enough until one realizes that this practice is without question the very heart and core of the Catholic “gospel.” In other words, your participation of this sacrament is what saves you. The point is that your salvation depends on something you do. It gives you a temporary and false sense of assurance until you sin again. In fact, according to Catholic teaching, one can never be assured of one’s own salvation. To have such assurance is to be guilty of the sin of pride. And looking back on it now, such a conclusion makes perfect sense because if our salvation were based on our performance (i.e., participation in the sacraments), we would have something to boast about. So logically from that point of view, if we don’t acknowledge or recognize our salvation, at least in theory we can be humble about it. But Paul saw the error in all this fallacious thinking when he penned the words:
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
For the Catholic, the concept of salvation by grace through faith alone is nearly impossible to receive because rooted in the heart of man (and virtually all religions) is the idea that we must earn our way to heaven. Now that Catholics are beginning to read their Bibles, they will sometimes quote other Bible passages, especially from James, to prove that we are, after all, still saved by works. Little do they realize that James was trying to explain what biblical faith really is. It is not an intellectual ascent but a full trust and commitment to our Savior that expresses itself in the way we live. If James were trying to say that our good works justify us, he would not have used the story of Abraham, Isaac, and the altar to make his point. Surely, Abraham was a man of unusual faith, but he did not pretend that he could find salvation through his own goodness, nor was his attempt to sacrifice Isaac on the altar an expression of goodness but rather of his faith in God alone.
In my case, growing up as a Catholic, I had virtually no knowledge of the Scriptures because we were never encouraged to read the Bible on our own lest we should come up with our own interpretations. And here is the crux of the matter: Christians often make the mistake of thinking that because Catholics believe in Jesus and the Cross, everything is O.K. But the reality is that as a Catholic, I knew that Jesus had atoned for my sins on the Cross but that redemption was not freely available to me. In some way, I had to earn my right to the Cross. This belief of mine was rooted to the very core of my being from participating in thousands of Masses where Jesus is re-crucified for my sins again and again. This deep heart-felt belief of mine that fostered my ongoing guilt was unfortunately not misconstrued but one hundred percent Catholic and totally in line with Catholic teaching. Salvation was, therefore, something attainable but always uncertain and out of reach. It is no wonder that the highly acclaimed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who spent her life ministering sacrificially to the poor and sick in India, spent her final hours in serious doubts of her own salvation.
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God . . . For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:11,12,14
I was now twenty years old and had completed my second year of college. I had feared the draft because I heard they were now drafting college students into the military, but now that I was twenty, I felt secure that I need not fear the lottery any longer. But then, I received my draft notice. I saw this as God’s judgment on me, but little did I know at the time that God was answering what I had said to Him on that starry night a few months earlier.
My time in the Army brought a drastic change to my life. It was the first time I was away from home. It also was my first experience in getting to know other people on a deeper level as I lived and worked with them. For the first time in my life, I met Christians who shared with me the Gospel. One of them even gave me a New Testament, which I did read as I had made the decision that I would use my time in the military to seek for and hopefully find God.
In contrast, having been sent to Germany, I witnessed the selfish and destructive lifestyle of most of the soldiers. In my unit, the majority of them got high on drugs at every opportunity. And drunkenness and prostitution was widespread too. But, I was known as the straight guy. In fact, I was so disgusted by what I saw happening around me that I determined not to have one taste of alcohol while I was there. Some of the soldiers mocked me, though I tried to be amiable and live at peace with them. I still remember one soldier blowing marijuana smoke in my face because I would not get high with them.
But all the while, I knew that my heart was unclean, and I saw in these soldiers a reflection of the dirt in my own life and knew that I was headed toward moral destruction. This made me all the more anxious to find the victory and peace I was witnessing in the lives of the Christians. It was at this very low point of my life that I realized again, like on that night beneath the stars, that without God’s intervention, my life would go to ruins. Up until now, I thought I had the power to change myself, but I now realized I was continuing on a spiritual decline. I picked up a Gospel tract that one of my sergeants had given me and found that salvation is within easy reach of anyone who will acknowledge his own sinfulness and inability to save himself. The hard part was getting to the place of recognizing my need of a Savior. And the Catholic gospel of justification by grace through works had hindered me from finding Christ for years.
I should caution you that if you were to approach the average practicing Catholic with this article, they would either tell you that I was mistaught Catholic doctrine as a youth or things have changed since Vatican II. However, the truth is literally staring us in the face when we realize that the Catholic priest performs an unbiblical ritual in the Eucharist, and Catholic doctrine still says that our participation in this is what saves us. In fact, if you were to take the Eucharist out of the Catholic Mass, you would no longer have the Mass. And if you took the Mass out of Catholicism, you would no longer have the Catholic church, and no priest can deny this.
Some may say, well perhaps the Catholic church is right about the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Maybe the communion wafer and the wine literally do become the body and blood of Jesus—under false appearances of course. But if this were true, then Jesus would necessarily have been lying to his disciples when He told them He had been using a figure of speech, using the earthly term “flesh” to express spiritual truth:
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (Italics mine)
But let’s just suppose for a moment that Jesus had answered his disciples in another way when they began to murmur, “this is a hard saying; who can hear it?” Let’s just suppose Jesus answered their confusion by saying, “Oh yes, I really meant it literally. Eating my flesh is profitable and will give you spiritual life.” Given this scenario, would the Catholic church be right in the celebration of the Mass, where Christ is re-crucified daily on an altar? The answer is no because we would still be speaking of another gospel than the one each of the apostles preached. And this is the one key point I want to get across in this article: Our justification is by grace through faith alone, not by our participation in a ritual. Being born of the Spirit is what gives us life – eternal life. By the way, Nicodemus was also troubled when Jesus said to him, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). He could not understand how anyone could come out of his mother’s womb twice. Jesus was always speaking of spiritual things, using earthly terms and parables to express His meaning, but man, being carnal, always misunderstood His meaning, and so it is today.
My time in the service ended shortly after I read that tract and received the Lord in full trust to be my Savior. In fact, I found the Lord about two months before I left the service. God had wrought a miracle in my life in just two years, and I came out of the Army a new man—thanks to God, of course. God also opened my understanding of the Scriptures, but I did not know where to find fellowship. Then, I found out about Catholic charismatic meetings in my area. It seems that a goodly number of Catholics had found the Lord at the tail end of the Jesus movement and these meetings provided a place for fellowship. I still remember a discussion we had as to whether or not we should leave the Catholic church. The consensus was we should stay so as to be a light to those who are still lost. For this reason, I remained in the Catholic church for a number of years. Finally, as my life was more and more transformed by the Word of God, I realized that staying was not accomplishing my hope of being a light to Catholics, and the best witness I could provide was to leave. While I do not judge those who stayed for the benefit of the lost, I want to point out a serious fallacy in this thinking because the Catholic church is non-reformable. As I alluded to before, the sacrament of the Eucharist is another gospel, but to do away with it would be to do away with the whole structure of the Mass, and the Catholic church would then cease to exist. I feel very sorry for those believing Catholics who decided to stay; it must be very difficult for them and awkward for them not to feel like hypocrites.
At the tail end of my stay in the Catholic church, I joined an evangelical Christian community. From the day I found the Lord, I was always intrigued by Acts chapter 4, where the first Christians “were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). The whole idea of community seemed like a piece of heaven on earth. I joined the community with the determination to make it work, even if the task was difficult. And difficult it turned out to be. Oddly, when I became a Christian, I was soon identified by other believers as having a gift of discernment, but now in this community it seemed that the opposite became the rule for the day: if something bothered me, the leaders said it was because I was fighting against God. I remember testing out this attitude one day when our community took a few days vacation trip. Somehow, our vehicles got separated and sitting across from the driver I said in jest, “I think maybe we should turn left.” His immediate reply was, “Okay then, I’m going to turn right.” Although done in humor, this incident was a true reflection of the attitude the members of the community had toward me.
Then, the day came when some of the leaders announced that they were considering becoming Catholic – this was a decision they were making not just for themselves but for all of us. When I joined the community, it was non-denominational though its roots were in a Baptist church. It had begun as a recovery ministry for young people who had forsaken drugs and alcohol or just needed a place to live. The fact that these leaders were now entertaining thoughts about Catholicism came as a great disturbance to me, but not as a total surprise. I had witnessed over the years how some of the members seemed somewhat intrigued with the Catholic church and with Catholic mystics like Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. I remember one Christmas Eve when three of the women decided they were going to attend midnight Mass. I overheard them the next day talking about how enjoyable an experience it had been.
But the meeting where the leaders announced their move toward Catholicism was anything but enjoyable for me. It was like watching a mutiny in one of those old pirate movies but without the violence. The senior elder of the community strongly opposed our becoming Catholic by saying that it did not represent who we were. But there were too many others who had already decided they wanted to move in this direction. The senior elder was immediately removed from the community as a “discipline,” but as time proved itself, he never came back. The community very quickly spiraled into the web of Catholicism.
I remember the night a Catholic priest was invited to speak to the community about Catholicism. This priest was recognized as a leader in the renewal movement of the Pacific Northwest. On that night, he proclaimed a great number of things. Here are some of the key points he shared with us:
What is Ecumenism? The Protestants do not know what ecumenism actually means to the Catholic church. They think it means that the Protestants and Catholics can have fellowship together as co-equals. What it actually means is that the Protestants will eventually be reabsorbed into the Catholic church.
Protestant pastors have no power when they do a communion service. They only go through the motions but nothing really happens. Only the Catholic priest has the power and authority to perform a communion service.
Protestants are the lost brethren because they have rebelled against (forsaken) the one true church.
A good Muslim, a good Hindu, and a good Buddhist are saved. They have more hope of getting into heaven than the Protestants.
The Protestants have a false notion of evangelism. As I have just told you, people of other religions are already saved. But the Protestants need to return to the Catholic church.
Hearing these things that night helped me realize that the Catholic church, as an institution, is much worse than I had allowed myself to believe. Although hearing these things was not actually new to me, it did surprise me that a leader in a renewal movement, where Catholics and Protestants mingled together, had such a low regard for the Protestants and a whole different agenda.
And perhaps what was even more surprising was that these sincere Christians, whom I had loved, lived with, and worked with side by side for over six years did not challenge this priest with his heretical beliefs that night.
The community was moving full steam ahead toward becoming Catholic, but there were some practical issues that had to be dealt with. For example, the leaders of the community had made a covenant to stay together for life, but the senior elder was no longer with them. They brought this problem to this Catholic priest who had a ready answer. He told them that he had the God-given power to dissolve the covenant. He explained that becoming Catholic superseded anything else. Then there was the matter of what to do with me. They thought if they sent me to talk to this priest one-on-one, he could persuade me to return to the “mother church.” But when it became apparent that I was not turning back, I was told that I must leave.
Other things happened in that community. Things got really hot at times; there were fights between members. Eventually two marriages broke up where the husband left the community, but the wife and children stayed behind to become Catholic. One of these husbands later confessed to me that when I was removed from the community he thought God was removing me because I was not a part of God’s special remnant. But after he was kicked out, he realized that what was once a loving Christian community had become a cult.
Not long after I was removed, the community became fully Catholic. They remain so today.
As I am writing these things, I am amazed to think how quickly the years have gone by. These events that seem like yesterday began over twenty-five years ago. And through all these years, I have never publically shared the story about the community. But there is a reason why I felt compelled to share it now. When the community was deciding to become Catholic, they were very excited because they felt that they were pioneers in going back to the mother church. They felt confident that many others would eventually follow their example. Today, I see that this is beginning to happen in large numbers. The community shared with some of their friends that they had grown spiritually as far as the Protestant church could take them, and if they were going to grow anymore, they would have to become Catholic. It is the same thing that is happening today. Many Protestant leaders are now standing up and proclaiming that we need to glean from the teachings and practices of the Catholic church. Particularly appealing to them is contemplative prayer or mysticism and the spiritual disciplines. There is no doubt in my mind that contemplative spirituality is a bridge, bringing Protestants “back” to the Catholic church. The emerging church movement is equally a bridge toward Catholicism, and the Purpose Driven movement has had a role in this as well.
If after having read this article, you would like to know more about what is happening, let me recommend these materials from Roger Oakland, one of our authors, if you haven’t read or watched these already:
The book, Another Jesus, goes into greater depth to explain how the Christ of the Eucharist is truly “another Jesus” of another gospel.
Faith Undone is Roger’s masterpiece in exposing the apostasy that is even now sweeping our nation. This book is more relevant today than the day it was written, as the things described in this book are unfolding at an accelerated rate. This book gives special attention to the subject of the emerging church.
The Emerging Church DVD series of Roger’s is also an excellent source of material that encapsulates Catholicism, the emerging church, and the false gospel that is being promoted in much of the church today.
Richard Foster’s New Book: “25 Books Every Christian Should Read” – Should Be Titled “How to Become a Catholic Mystic”
In September of 2010, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article “Richard Foster’s Renovare Turns to Panentheist Mystic Richard Rohr and Emerging Darling Phyllis Tickle For New Book Project” telling our readers about a new book that Richard Foster would soon be putting out. The name of his now released 400+ page book is titled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. In our 2010 article, we pointed out that the editorial team for the new book included panentheistic mystic Richard Rohr, emerging church figure Phyllis Tickle, and contemplatives Dallas Willard. Below is a list of the 25 books included in Foster’s new book. See for yourself, by looking at this list, that Foster’s purpose is to bring contemplative spirituality to the evangelical Christian church.
Another note worth pointing out here on this list of books that Richard Foster says every Christian should read: A large number of these authors below were either Catholic, on the road to Catholicism, or those who wanted to reform the Catholic church but maintain the Eucharist (belief that the communion elements become the real body and blood of Jesus). As Lighthouse Trails has contended, contemplative prayer is a bridge to Catholicism (not to mention panentheism and universalism). In addition, more and more evangelical Protestants are turning to the Catholic Eucharist, claiming that the mystical experience it offers them leads them to God (but really it leads them to the false Eucharistic “Christ”).
Also, and equally as important and telling as the books of dead authors that Foster highlights in his book is a list of “alive” authors whom Foster recommends at the end of his book (Best Contemporary Authors) some of which include: Richard Foster (of course), Ann Lamott, Brian McLaren, Eugene Peterson, Dallas Willard, and N.T. Wright – all names that point to the “new” spirituality.
On the list below, aside from a few names that do not fall into the contemplative, mystic, and/or Catholic category, this combination of books is a recipe for a dangerous path to apostasy. What Foster’s book really should be titled is How to Become a Catholic Mystic.
25 Books Every Christian Should Read by Richard Foster
1. On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius ( promoter of Catholic Eucharist)
2. Confessions by St. Augustine
3. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
4. The Rule of St. Benedict by St. Benedict
5. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
6. The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous (Catholic monk)
7. Revelations of Divine Love (Showings) by Julian of Norwich
8. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (Catholic monk)
9. The Philokalia
10. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
11. The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
12. Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
13. Pensées by Blaise Pascal (Catholic)
14. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
15. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
16. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law
17. The Way of a Pilgrim by Unknown Author
18. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
19. Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton (converted to Catholicism from Protestanism)
20. The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Jesuit, mystic)
21. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
22. A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly
23. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (Catholic monk)
24. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
25. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen (Catholic)
Southern Baptist Convention Rejects Gender-Neutral NIV Bible But Embraces The Message, Renovare Bible, and Contemplative Books
“Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture,” the resolution states. “This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language.”
Expressing “profound disappointment” with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House, who printed 1.9 million copies of the updated Bible in the first run, the SBC “respectfully [requested]” that Lifeway Bookstores not sell the new version in their stores and encouraged pastors to let their congregations know of the translation errors.
While the SBC’s willingness to stand up against this new translation Bible translation is worth noting, we are puzzled that they find nothing wrong with Eugene Peterson’s translation The Message paraphrase and Richard Foster’s Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible. On their LifeWay Resources website, they sell The Message and the Renovare “Bible.” They also carry the New Men’s Devotional Bible (NIV), which includes “contributions” by New Age sympathizer Rob Bell. They also carry books by contemplative authors such as Gary Thomas, including his book Sacred Pathways where he tells readers to repeat a word for twenty minutes and Sacred Marriage where he references several times a tantric sex advocate.1 They carry books by contemplative proponent Pete Scazzero including Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a resource for those wanting to practice contemplative prayer. To get a good glimpse at Scazzero’s propensities, check out his favorite books section on his website – it’s a plethora of mystics, emergents, and New Agers sympathizers. And there are countless other examples of contemplative authors that LifeWay is selling. A search on the store website will bring these up.
The message that Southern Baptist Convention is sending out to its members by approving a resolution against the gender-neutral Bible yet continuing to embrace contemplative/emerging authors is that the issue of men’s and women’s roles is important but protecting the church from mysticism, emerging spirituality, and the New Age is not. A number of years ago, LifeWay removed books by authors such as Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, and Thomas Keating (all Catholics).2 But they have erred greatly if they do not realize that Nouwen, Merton, and Keating’s spirituality is still entering the Protestant church at breakneck speed through evangelical avenues – it’s the same spirituality as Nouwen, Merton, and Keating, just an “evangelical” outer layer disguising its true nature.
While we can understand the concern that SBC has over the gender-neutral Bible, we cannot understand their lack of concern over contemplative/emerging spirituality and its harmful impact on the Christian church.
By ROBERT MACKEY
New York Times
“[T]he Vatican has recalled its ambassador to Ireland following the release of an Irish government report that the Vatican had discouraged efforts by bishops to report cases of sex abuse to the police.”
The report, released on July 13, found that clergy leaders in the rural Irish diocese of Cloyne did not act on complaints against 19 priests from 1996 to 2009. It also concluded that the Vatican had encouraged bishops to ignore child-protection guidelines that included the “mandatory reporting” of abuse to civil authorities. (The Times has posted the complete text of the report online.)
A brief Vatican statement explaining the decision to recall its ambassador noted, “in particular, the reactions that have followed” the release of the report. Click here to continue.