Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’
When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term “Spiritual Formation” was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction.1 Richard Foster
What is spiritual formation, and what is its premise? According to Roger Oakland, spiritual formation came upon the church like an unsuspecting avalanche:
A move away from the truth of God’s Word to a mystical form of Christianity has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. Few Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, most do not realize it has even happened.
The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the forbidden book. Until the Reformers translated the Bible into the language of the common people, the great masses were in darkness. When the light of God’s Word became available, the Gospel was once again understood.
I believe history is repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise in mystical experiences escalates, and these experiences are presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling, and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for fostering spiritual formation. This term suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God and to emulate him. Thus the idea that if you do certain practices, you can be more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite. In a DVD called Be Still, which promotes contemplative prayer, Richard Foster said that contemplative prayer is for anyone and that by practicing it, one becomes “a portable sanctuary” for “the presence of God.”2 Rather than having the indwelling of the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, spiritual formation through the spiritual disciplines supposedly transforms the seeker by entering an altered realm of consciousness.
The spiritual formation movement is widely promoted at colleges and seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader. It teaches people that this is how they can become more intimate with God and truly hear His voice. Even Christian leaders with longstanding reputations of teaching God’s word seem to be succumbing. In so doing, many Christian leaders are frivolously playing with fire, and the result will be thousands, probably millions, getting burned.
It isn’t going into the silence that transforms a person’s life. It is in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and allowing Him to change us, that transformation occurs. (Faith Undone, pp. 90-92)
To understand spiritual formation, all one needs to do is understand the spirituality of Richard Foster. Lighthouse Trails has documented his beliefs through A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, as well as through numerous articles on the Lighthouse Trails Research site. In this particular article, let us turn to a small book Richard Foster wrote called Meditative Prayer. Foster says that the purpose of meditative prayer is to create a “spiritual space” or “inner sanctuary” through “specific meditation exercises” (p. 9). Foster references several mystics in the book who can point the way to these exercises: Madame Guyon, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton. Foster breaks the contemplative process down into three steps. He says:
The first step [into meditative prayer] is sometimes called “centering down.” Others have used the term re-collection; that is, a re-collecting of ourselves until we are unified or whole. The idea is to let go of all competing distractions until we are truly centered, until we are truly present where we are.
Foster suggests that practicing visualization methods help us center down (p. 17). In the second step of meditation, Foster suggests that mystic Richard Rolle experienced “physical sensations” (see kundalini info) during meditation which perhaps we may or may not experience as well (p. 18). Step three of meditation, Foster says, is that of “listening” to God. Once the meditative exercises have been implemented and the “spiritual ecstasy” is reached, this entered realm is where the voice of God can be heard (p. 23). However, as any New Age meditator knows, this ecstatic state is an altered state of consciousness where everything is supposed to be unified and one with God. Foster acknowledges the interspiritual attribute linked to contemplative prayer when he states: “[Jesus] showed us God’s yearning for the gathering of an all-inclusive community of loving persons” (p. 5). Foster defines more of what he means by “all-inclusive” in his book Streams of Living Water when he says this “all-inclusive community” includes everything from a “Catholic monk” to a “Baptist evangelist.”3 In other writings, he says that contemplative prayer (and its results) are for everyone and anyone (see Be Still DVD).
Interestingly, Foster discusses the practice of lectio divina in his book, which is being heralded in many Christian settings as a Christian, biblical practice. People are persuaded to believe that repeating phrases and words of Scripture over and over again is a deeper way to know God. They believe that since it is Scripture being repeated (and not just any words), then this validates the practice and that this sacred reading is sacred because it is the Bible being used. But Foster himself proves that it has nothing to do with Scripture. It’s the repetition that is effective, not the words. He states: “[L]ectio divina includes more than the Bible. There are the lives of the saints and the writings which have proceeded from their profound [mystical] experiences” (p. 25). Foster obliterates the supposed premise of lectio divina by saying this. That is because as a meditation proponent he knows that meditation has nothing to do with which words are repeated over and over; it is the repetition itself that puts one into an altered state. Thus whether you say Jesus, Abba, Buddha, or OM, it produces the same effect.
Just in case there is any doubt in the reader’s mind, Richard Foster tells readers to study Thomas Merton for a deeper understanding of meditation, calling his book, Contemplative Prayer a “powerful analysis of the central nature of contemplative prayer.”
Spiritual formation is contemplative spirituality, and it is sweeping quickly throughout Christianity today. If a college, a seminary, a church, or an organization (like Focus on the Family) wants spiritual formation, may they keep in mind, they will get eastern meditation and the occultic realms that accompany it.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23)
As Roger Oakland states:
We are reconciled to God only through his “death” (the atonement for sin), and we are presented “holy and unblamable and unreproveable” when we belong to Him through rebirth. It has nothing to do with works, rituals, or mystical experiences. It is Christ’s life in the converted believer that transforms him. (Faith Undone)
1. “Spiritual Formation: A Pastoral Letter”
2. Richard Foster, Be Still DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, 2006), section titled “Contemplative Prayer.”
3. Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1998), p. 273.
Rick Warren Endorses 2013 Book, “Catholics Come Home” – Calls Catholic Evangelization “Critically Important”
A picture (and an endorsement) say a thousand words
See what “America’s Pastor” is saying about this 2013 release on the Roman Catholic” new evangelization program to bring back the “lost [Protestant] brethren” to the “Mother Church”:
“The mission of Tom Peterson and Catholics Come Home to bring souls home to Jesus and the church is critically important during this challenging time in our history. I fully support this new evangelization project.” —Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, (emphasis added)
Some other noteworthy endorsements:
We are in the midst of a New Evangelization; and I believe this book is a signal moment in its success. It is also a sign that will lead many folks back home to the family of God, which is [the]Catholic Church.” —Dr. Scott W. Hahn, author of The Lamb’s Supper and Signs of Life (former Protestant turned Catholic “evangelist”)
“Catholics Come Home inspires each of us to share God’s love with others, in order to help change the world for the better, for eternity!” – Roma Downey, actress and co-producer of the History Channel series The Bible
A SPECIAL IMPORTANT RELATED OFFER
To understand the Catholic Church’s New Evangelization program, please read Another Jesus: the eucharistic christ and the new evangelization by Roger Oakland.
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
Reposted from April 2012
Last week, there was a knock at the office door, and when I answered it, I was greeted by a lady with a cheery face telling me of a most significant event coming to the community – and I was invited. She then handed me a brochure that was to clue me in on what the event was all about. I thanked her and closed the door.
On the front page, there was a picture of Jesus crowned as King along with some questions asking, basically, is Jesus a man who attempted to die for the sins of all mankind – in weakness and humility, or is He the victorious King soon to return. It was an either/or question implying that Jesus was either a pathetically weak individual, or He is a victorious King soon to return, swiftly conquering all the forces of evil. Then when I flipped the brochure open, it greeted me with the bold statement – He is the coming King. All the while, a sickening feeling came over me – the kind of feeling I get when I hear someone blaspheming God. Yet, whoever wrote the brochure was trying to depict Jesus as good – Jesus as powerful. The author was suggesting that we need to do away with the idea of a weak Jesus who would stoop so low as to die for sins.
It’s a funny thing, but from my earliest youth – before I ever became a born-again Christian – I knew that Jesus came to die for mankind’s sins. I knew in my heart that He is our Redeemer. Then in my early twenties when I accepted Him as my Savior and Lord and made a life-long commitment to serve Him, I remember pondering the overwhelming significance of Jesus dying on the Cross. It was the most significant event in history only to be equaled in any fashion by His resurrection. I remember thinking then, as a new believer, that Jesus’ death on the Cross to atone for sin is so fundamental to the Christian faith that this doctrine and teaching could never possibly be questioned by the church at large. While I knew that a mass deception would sweep the entire world before Jesus returns – when the Antichrist will come to power – but nullifying teaching on the atonement and the Cross did not seem to enter the equation.
But, what is wrong with seeing Jesus as a victorious, powerful king and forgetting that weak moment in time when He was nailed to a Cross? (This is a rhetorical question and not a serious one.) After all, is it not true that in chapters 17 and 19 of Revelation He is referred to as Lord of lords and King of kings? We should look at one of those passages; it concerns a time when the rulers of the earth will be paying homage to the Beast:
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:13-14)
Upon reading this, I decided to look up the word “Lamb” found in these verses in Strong’s Concordance, for somehow the word “Lamb” does not fit the idea of a conquering King, being known as an animal that is both meek and lowly. Checking the Concordance, sure enough, the word literally means “lamb” but this derivative more aptly means a lambkin – which according to Webster’s Dictionary means a little lamb. My word pursuit only led me to the ultimate in weakness – a helpless little lamb.
Yet, something very significant about all of this also blazes throughout the pages of both the Old and New Testaments. For it was the sacrificial lamb of the Old Testament, without spot or blemish, that foretold as a type and shadow of things to come, the coming of a sinless Redeemer. Isaiah wrote of Him saying, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities . . . and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”(John 1:29). Jesus, indeed, was the sacrificial Lamb who became the perfect substitute and one true offering for Abraham and Isaac at the altar, for the Israelites at their first Passover in Egypt, for Moses and Aaron and the temple priests and their many offerings, and He is the substitute for “whosoever believeth in Him” (John 3:15 & 16, Acts 10:43, Romans 10:11) – Jesus, the Son of God, who died on the Cross for our sins.
I find it very puzzling how supposed Bible scholars can spend vast amounts of time dissecting the Scriptures and yet not seem to be able to come up with a single reference to Jesus dying as an atonement for sin.* If the Old Testament had taught that we are saved by our own good works, then why were the chosen people of that day instructed to, year after year, offer sacrificial animals for sin? It is because salvation never was and never will be earned (based on works); it is the “gift of God: Not of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And a gift necessitates a giver, and that Giver is Jesus Christ, the one perfect Lamb without blemish.
Going back to Revelation 17, where we see Jesus portrayed as both Lamb and King, I ask the question, what would it be like to forget Jesus as the Lamb and portray Him only as King? The answer to this question can be readily found in the New Testament because this is precisely the kind of Messiah the Jews were looking for at that time – who would be a political figure, rather than a personal savior, and save the Jews from the oppressive despotic government of the Romans. Time and again, the Jewish masses wanted to make Him King, and the disciples sometimes pondered as to why Jesus did not usurp the power of government held by the Romans.
The fact of the matter is that the Jewish population was not as concerned about personal salvation as they were concerned about the oppression they encountered in the here and now. It is the same today. Increasingly, we are hearing that the era of the personal (single) savior is over, and the term “redeeming cultures” is prevalent. In fact, the emergent leaders indicate that those who seek after personal salvation rather than corporate redemption of cultures are merely “self-centered.” In other words, personal salvation is no longer an issue, nor is it even relevant, but what counts is saving our planet. This is also why Rick Warren, who sees himself as a reformer, has called for a “new reformation” based on deeds rather than creeds, and one, he says, that will be brought about by all religions (and even practicing homosexuals) joining together. By implementing his P.E.A.C.E. plan, he hopes to redeem cultures and save our world. Countless other “reformers” have joined the effort and by doing so hope to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.
But Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus never attempted to operate as a political figure or to redeem cultures as many are attempting to do today. It seems so much nobler and politically correct to save our culture or our world than to “selfishly” seek personal salvation. But personal salvation is specifically what Jesus came for. He knew that we can never have a better world if individual hearts are not changed. Furthermore, Jesus was concerned about our individual souls from the perspective of where we will spend eternity rather than being concerned for a perishing planet. In fact, as the disciples were admiring the beauty of the temple, Jesus rightfully predicted that it would all be torn down, for He knew the immediate future was bleak for the nation of Israel.
Even Judas was hoping for a political king. He often dipped into the treasury for himself and wondered what political gain he might enjoy by following Jesus. Then when Jesus disappointed his hope for temporal gain, Judas betrayed him.
In view of these facts, I find it very disconcerting that people who call themselves Christians today would strip Jesus of His true purpose to be that sacrificial Lamb while crowning him as King. This is what Judas attempted to do. It is also what the Roman soldiers did when they dressed Him in a robe and set a crown of thorns on His head. But, truthfully, what many Christians are doing today is much worse because when we rob Jesus of His title as the sacrificial Lamb, we are making a mockery of Jesus’ death on the Cross and of the deity of the sinless Son of God. If Jesus did not die for the sins of mankind, neither was He the unique and sinless One whom Isaiah refers to as, “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). To rob Jesus of His role as our Redeemer is to rob His place as God who became flesh and dwelt among us – because there would be no more Gospel. Suffice to say, crowning Jesus as King alone while denying His intended and rightful place as our Redeemer is nothing short of blasphemous.
Jesus indeed is risen, and He will come back as King. But remember, for Him to have risen, He had to have died first. The glory of the resurrection is that Jesus is Victor in conquering both sin and death at the Cross. Through that cruel death, He purchased us and has gone to prepare a place for us to spend with Him for all eternity.
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 44:22)
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5:21)
Several Christian media outlets are announcing the “friendship” between evangelical mega-evangelist Luis Palau and the new Jesuit Pope who was elected at the Vatican in Italy this past week. Headlines are letting Christians know that one of their most popular evangelists has a special relationship with “Pope Francis.”
Palau is not the only evangelical leader to send his praises and words of support to the new pope. Rick Warren sent out a message on his “Twitter” account just prior to the election, “Join me today in praying and fasting for the 115 Cardinals seeking God’s will in a new leader,” and after the election Warren tweeted “Welcome Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio,
#HabemusPapam [“We have a pope!”] You have our prayers.” Christians who look at things from a biblical point of view and take into consideration biblical prophecy about the last days will have a difficult time not being concerned about the implications of Christian leaders exhibiting a kind of comradeship with the Roman Catholic leader. As Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times have attempted to warn believers about the ecumenical, interspiritual one-world religion that is coming, once again we see the lethargy regarding spiritual deception within the ranks of Christian leaders.
While behaving with Christian charity toward the Pope and praying for him (as we should for all people) is not a bad thing in and of itself, Luis Palau and Rick Warren’s ongoing minimizing of the extreme differences between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism is. Over the years, the Palau crusades have included Catholic counselors for those coming forward to receive Christ, and Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement has offered Catholic-focused programs. This goes beyond the scope of reaching out to Catholics with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and negates Scripture that tells Christians to be discerning and speak up against false teachings.
In an interview with Luis Palau on Relevant magazine website, talking about his friendship with the new pope, Palau stated: “I think that’s the emphasis he is going to bring to the papacy: That the Gospel is primary, that we must emphasize it and especially with youth.”1 But just what “Gospel” will the pope actually emphasize? Will the true Gospel of Jesus Christ be able to be emphasized when it is shrouded in Masses, Eucharists, Transubstantiations, Marian apparitions, and a “new” evangelization program that seeks to bring back the “lost brethren” to the “Mother” church? To understand more clearly the concerns that Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times share, please read some of our material on just what Roman Catholicism teaches. We do not have any animosity toward Catholics themselves, but we do see the Roman Catholic church as a body of deception, leading millions away from the Gospel with a “justification by works” false gospel and a eucharistic christ that is “another Jesus.”
Below is just one of many headlines by Christian media boasting of Luis Palau’s relationship with the Pope.
“Luis Palau: New Pope Francis a Friend of Evangelicals”
By Anugrah Kumar
Evangelist Luis Palau, who knows and has prayed together with Pope Francis on several occasions, called the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics a friend of evangelicals who is respectful of all sides of Christianity.
“I exploded,” Palau told oregonlive.com, of his reaction after his son, Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association, shared the news that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope this week. “I just couldn’t believe it. In the last election, he was in the running but he told me he felt led by God to remove himself from the race. I said, ‘Maybe next time,’ and he said, ‘I’ll be too old.'”
The fiery preacher who some have called the “Latin Billy Graham,” said whenever they prayed together, Bergoglio asked him to “lay your hands on me and pray for me, that God will keep me as servant.” The new pope is respectful of all sides of Christianity, Palau said, adding the press referred to him as the “evangelical pope” in 2008. Click here to read more.
A Jesuit Pope? Understanding The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church – Special Report by UTT and LT
LTRP Note: Nearly two years ago, we issued this special report. With a newly elected Jesuit Pope in the Vatican, we thought it would be timely to repost this important article. It is also in booklet form as one of our new Print Booklet Tracts.
An Understand the Times/Lighthouse Trails Special Report
According to Bible prophecy, a one-world religion that will offer the promise of peace throughout the world is going to commence prior to Christ’s return. To most, this global body will seem like a wonderful thing and very possibly will be a pseudo-Christianity (coming in the name of “Christ”); however, contrary to how the masses will view it, it will actually help establish and set up the antichrist and his one- world government.
In order for this to happen, all religions must come together in an ecumenical plan. Today, as part of this Satanic scheme, the evangelical/Protestant church is being drawn seductively into the Roman Catholic church, largely through what we call “The Jesuit Agenda.” Incredibly, while the evidence is obvious to some, the majority of proclaiming Christians are not at all aware it is happening.
So, what should we expect if we are in the time when such a system unfolds? First, many who once were Protestant and evangelical will become ecumenical and eventually assimilate with the Roman Catholic church. Second, all religions will unite in solidarity of purpose. Understanding the Jesuit Agenda is essential if we are to understand how this worldwide deception will come about.
Who are the Jesuits?
Since its foundation, the Catholic papacy has been zealous and often brutal in its endeavor to establish the kingdom of the Pope (of whom it is believed within the Catholic church is headed by Jesus Christ). In fact, the Pope has been referred to as the “Vicar of Christ.” This determination was witnessed during the Inquisition where countless thousands, if not millions, died cruelly for resisting Rome. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs describes many of these atrocities.
While many believers in Christ during the Reformation period attempted to spread the truth that God’s Word was truly God’s Word and could not be squandered and kept hostage by the papacy and the Catholic Church, it was not long before the Counter Reformation was founded to bring the “Separated Brethren” back to the “Mother of All Churches.”
This Counter Reformation was largely headed by Ignatius Loyola, the man who founded the Jesuit Order in the mid 1500s and launched an all-out attack against those who dared stand against the papacy and Rome. This excerpt from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs gives us an idea of the nature and determination of this Counter Reformation:
The emperor Ferdinand, whose hatred of the Bohemian Protestants was without bounds, not thinking he had sufficiently oppressed them, instituted a high court to prosecute the reformers upon the plan of the Inquisition, with this difference, that the court was to travel from place to place and always to be attended by a body of troops. This court was conducted chiefly by Jesuits and from their decision there was no appeal, by which it may be easily conjectured that it was a dreadful tribunal indeed.
This bloody court, attended by a body of troops, made the tour of Bohemia. They seldom examined or saw a prisoner, for the soldiers were permitted to murder the Protestants as they pleased and then to make a report of the matter to them afterward.1
You see, the Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to do whatever it took to end the Protestant Reformation. The 1540 Constitution of the Jesuits states:
[L]et whoever desires to fight under the sacred banner of the Cross, and to serve only God and the Roman pontiff, His vicar on earth, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity,- let him keep in mind that he is part of a society, instituted for the purpose of perfecting souls in life and in Christian doctrine, for the propagation of the faith . . . Let all members know, and let it be not only at the beginning of their profession, but let them think over it daily as long as they live, that the society as a whole, and each of them, owes obedience to our most holy lord, the pope, and the other Roman pontiffs, his successors, and to fight with faithful obedience for God. (Emphasis added.)
While most Christians think that the Counter Reformation is a thing of the past because we are not seeing Inquisitions today, this movement continues until today and with renewed effort through various avenues of the evangelical/Protestant church. In a way, it is more insidious than the Inquisitions, because now it has infiltrated Christianity and is being disguised as the “new” Christianity. (Rick Warren promotes it as the “new” or second reformation.) But disguised or not, it is the Jesuit Agenda, and it is bringing about ecumenism and a one-world religion. And at the same time, it is attempting to destroy the message that so many died for – the message that Jesus Christ is not found in a wafer and a cup of juice to be re-crucified day after day but has died once and for all for the sins of man and offers a salvation that is an entirely free gift, unearned to those who believe on Him (Hebrews 7:27; 10:11-14).
Who Was Ignatius Loyola?
After a serious injury in the military and during a lengthy rehabilitation, Ignatius Loyola (b. 1491, d. 1556) turned his focus from “military enthusiasm to ghostly fanaticism.”2 Ignatius assumed the name and office of Knight of the Virgin Mary, seeing himself as Mary’s favorite. Ignatius wanted to start a new order, The Society of Jesus (or the Jesuits) and presented the idea to the Pope. He told the Pope that the idea had been inspired by heavenly revelations. At first, the Pope hesitated, but when Ignatius added a fourth vow (in addition to the regular poverty, chastity, and obedience), “absolute subservience to the pope,” promising to do whatever the Pope wanted and go wherever he wanted, the Pope agreed and sent the new order out to “invade the world.” While other monks of other orders sought to separate themselves from the world, the Jesuits went out into the world and obeyed whatever command the Pope gave. Often this was to win the world with the sword. No violent act was withheld if the order came from their top “general.”3
In time, the Jesuits entered the education system, especially that of the Protestants. The Jesuit maxim was: “Give us the education of the children of this day – and the next generation will be ours.”4 The Reverend W. C. Brownlee, D.D. stated: “They pretended to be converted and to enter into Protestant churches.” One Jesuit even boasted that the Jesuits were successfully able to imitate the Puritan preachers. They used trickery and deception to become “all things to all men.” Within 48 years, there were eleven thousand Jesuits around the world, quite a large number for back then. 5
By 1773, the order was abolished because of their horrible reputation of bloodiness, deception, and immorality. However, they were reinstated fully in 1814 by Pope Pius VII. Even by this time, the influence and infiltration into the United States by the Jesuits was significant.
In 1857, the Reverend W.C. Brownlee, D.D. compiled a book of a translated document called Secret Instructions of the Jesuits (found on the Boston College Libraries website, for one). While Catholic sources say that the Secret Instructions of the Jesuits is an untrue document, there is enough evidence to indicate that it is true indeed. Naturally, it is so indicting against the papacy and the Jesuit Order that one can understand from a human point of view why Catholic sources would say the document isn’t true. But the facts are that the Jesuit Order was performing brutal cruel acts to bring the world to “Christ” and the Mother Church and that they were infiltrating every area of society to do so. This cannot be denied. Brownlee’s book would be a worthwhile read for those who wish to understand more of the history of the Jesuits.
The Jesuit Oath
It is said that the ancient Jesuits took the Jesuit Oath. This has been refuted by Catholic sources as a true oath taken by Jesuits of the past; nevertheless, there is evidence enough that the oath did exist to include excerpts of it in this report. We have taken these excerpts from a book titled Political and Economic Handbook by Thomas Edward Watson published in 1916, and found in the Harvard College library:
I do declare from my heart, without mental reservation, that the Pope is Christ’s Vicar General and . . . He hath power to depose Heretical Kings, Princes, States . . . that they may safely be destroyed. Therefore, to the utmost of my power I will defend this doctrine. . . . I do further declare the doctrine of the Church of England, of the Calvanists [sic], the Huguenots, and other Protestants to be damnable and those to be damned who will not forsake the same.
I do further declare that I will help, assist, and advise all or any of His Holiness agents in any place wherever I shall be; and to do my utmost to extirpate [exterminate] the heretical Protestant doctrine, and to destroy all their pretended power. (p. 437)
In another version of the Jesuit Oath, the Jesuit is asked to promise that he will make “relentless war” against “all heretics, Protestants” and to “hang, burn, waste, boil, flay, strangle, and bury alive these infamous heretics” (found in U.S. House Congressional Record, 1913, p. 3216).
The Jesuit Agenda Today
While we are not saying that Jesuits today are murdering Protestants if they don’t convert to Catholicism, we are saying that the determination and efforts to convert Protestants back to the Mother Church still exist. Basically, while the methods may have changed, the plan and objectives have not. The following quote from an article titled “Essay on Popery” by Rev. Ingram Cobbin M.A. (taken from one edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) is insightful:
The Jesuits, though at times expelled or pretendedly so from Rome, have been its awful emissaries to augment its power. The intrigues and deceptions of these men would fill volumes, and the conveniency of their creed to deny or affirm anything, or assume any profession as it may serve their purpose, is too well known to need recapitulating here. These men have at times assumed so much that every papal state has alternately ejected them; and large numbers are now in this country—doubtless many under false colours —waiting the most favourable opportunities to corrupt the rising generation, and, as much as possible, restore the dark days of former ages. The Jesuits are unchangeable.
The Jesuits were driven in the past to bring back the lost brethren, and they are driven today with the same vision. Today, that vision is part of the pope’s Eucharistic Evangelization, drawing people to the Eucharistic Christ. The Eucharistic Evangelization is discussed at length in Another Jesus: The Evangelization of the Eucharistic Christ and in several articles on the Understand the Times website.
Jesuit (Mystical) Spirituality and the Protestant/Evangelical Church
So if the methods of converting lost or prodigal souls back to Rome have changed, what is the method to accomplish these goals today? It is largely through what is called Jesuit Spirituality. A 2002 book titled Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way reveals how the Jesuit order has had and continues to have a “great influence” in people around the world. It attributes this “vitality” to “its spirituality” which has also “evoked fierce loyalty and fierce opposition.”6
What is the spirituality of the Jesuits that was so controversial? By their very roots, Jesuits are proponents of mystical prayer practices. The founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, created “spiritual exercises” that incorporated mysticism, including lectio divina. Today, millions of people worldwide practice the “Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.”
One Jesuit priest who resonates with the mystical spiritual outlook is Anthony De Mello (d. 1987), author of Sadhana: A Way to God. De Mello is often quoted today by contemplative and emerging authors and embraced the mysticism of Hinduism. He stated:
To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. – Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28 (cited from A Time of Departing, by Ray Yungen, p. 75).
Ray Yungen explains that Sadhana “is very open in its acknowledgment of Eastern mysticism as an enrichment to Christian spirituality.”
It doesn’t take a long search to find De Mello within the evangelical/Protestant camp. In fact, Richard Foster, one of the pioneers of the evangelical spiritual formation (contemplative) movement wrote the introduction to one of De Mello’s books, The Sacrament of the Present Moment. In A Glimpse of Jesus, popular contemplative author Brennan Manning quotes De Mello. Amazon shows that De Mello’s book, The Sacrament of the Present Moment is cited in 82 books, some of which are written by some of evangelicalism’s most popular authors: John Ortberg, Richard Foster, Jan Johnson, Philip Yancey, and Calvin Miller – incidentally all these are contemplative advocates.
Another example of Jesuit influence in the evangelical/Protestant church is the Be Still DVD, where Richard Foster quotes 18th century Jesuit priest, Jean Nicholas Grou as saying: “O Divine Master, teach me this mute language which says so much.” This “mute language” Grou speaks of is the mystical “silence” practiced by contemplatives and mystics throughout all religions.
One of the key figures in the “new” progressive Christianity today is Leonard Sweet. Sweet has partnered on a number of occasions with Rick Warren and speaks at evangelical events frequently. In Sweet’s book, Quantum Spirituality, he states:
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center. . . . In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. (p. 76)
How fitting that Sweet would quote a Jesuit priest’s prediction about the “Christian” of the future.
Tony Campolo, another popular figure in the evangelical church, reveals something quite interesting in his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical. In the book, he explains the role mysticism had in him becoming a Christian. He explains:
I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. (p. 30, see “Coming to Christ Through Mysticism,” Oakland )
For skeptics who may need further evidence that Jesuit Spirituality has come into the evangelical/Protestant church, consider this. In 2006, Baker Books, one of evangelicalism’s top book publishers, released a book titled Sacred Listening: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola written by James Wakefield. A publisher description of the book states:
Central to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the Spiritual Exercises is a manual used to direct a month-long spiritual retreat. Now adapting these time-honored Exercises specifically for Protestant Christians, James L. Wakefield encourages readers to integrate their secular goals with their religious beliefs and helps them reflect on the life of Jesus as a model for their own discipleship.7
Wakefield’s book, devoted to the Jesuits and Ignatian Exercises, should be proof enough that the Jesuit Agenda has entered the Christian church and that mysticism is the tool by which the Jesuit Agenda is largely being brought into the lives of countless evangelicals and Protestants. Is it any wonder Wakefield’s book found praise within the Jesuit community? Armand M. Nigro, professor emeritus at the Jesuit school, Gonzaga University, said:
As a Jesuit for 62 years, I have been formed by the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, our principal founder. I rejoice, then, at the long-awaited publication of Sacred Listening. It will be for its readers, I hope, a classic manual for spiritual growth in genuine mystical prayer. (on back cover of book)
Incidentally, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message wrote an endorsement of Wakefield’s book on the front cover.
These are just a few of a great many examples where the “Jesuit Spirituality” has come into the Protestant church; thus this new modern (post-modern) mystical method to accomplish the goals of the papacy is working.
If Protestants and evangelicals can be convinced to practice mysticism (i.e., contemplative), this conditions them to begin embracing Rome and even all religions. It’s important to understand that mysticism is the bridge that unites all the religions of the world. In order to unite them, there would need to be a uniting, common denominator, so to speak. That common uniting medium is mysticism. Thomas Merton recognized this. In a conversation he was having with a Sufi master, the topic of Christian atonement arose. The Sufi master said this was an area they could never agree on, to which Merton replied:
Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy [atonement] is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas . . . in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light, . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.8 (Emphasis added.)
Tilden Edwards, co-founder of the Shalem Institute (where Ruth Haley Barton was educated), would agree with Merton. He said, “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality” (Spiritual Friend, p. 18). And in a New Age book titled, As Above, So Below, the author states (quoting Aldous Huxley) that “the metaphysical [mystical] that recognizes a divine reality” is the “highest common factor” that “links the world’s religious traditions.” And even evangelical-turned-emerging author Tony Campolo recognizes this commonality in mysticism when he states: “Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam” (pp 149-150).
Incidentally, when we say all the religions of the world uniting, we include the New Age movement (perhaps one of the largest “religions” in the world today). New Agers believe that in order to enter into an age of enlightenment (or Age of Aquarius), the world needs to become “vibrationally sympathetic,” meaning that a sufficient mass (critical mass) of people will need to engage in mystical prayer.9
The Counter Reformation Continues
Jesuit influence in the world today is everywhere: in the business world, in education, in government, and yes, in the evangelical/Protestant church. According toContemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way, there are over one million people living in the United States alone who have graduated from Jesuit high schools, colleges, and universities (Introduction, p. 1).
While there have often been tensions between the Pope and the Jesuit Order over various issues, the current Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, reassured the Jesuit commitment to Rome when he stated:
The Society of Jesus was born within the Church, we live in the Church, we were approved by the Church and we serve the Church. This is our vocation…[Unity with the pope] is the symbol of our union with Christ. It also is the guarantee that our mission will not be a ‘small mission,’ a project just of the Jesuits, but that our mission is the mission of the Church.”10
Where Else in Evangelicalism is the Jesuit Evangelism Showing Up?
Earlier this year, Understand the Times released an article titled Jerry Boykin and the Calvary Chapel Connection. It was a difficult article for many to read. People do not want to think that Christian leaders and pastors they have trusted for years would be so foolish as to associate with and promote someone who is part of a group that wants to bring the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church. But the fact is that a high officer in the Vatican’s Jesuitical, “Knights of Malta” was a featured speaker at a Calvary Chapel sponsored Preach the Word prophecy conference.
Another example, and I believe an important one, has to do with one of the most well-known and influential evangelical organizations in America. Robert Siciro is a Protestant turned Catholic Paulist priest, and he is one of the featured speakers in the very popular Truth Project by Focus on the Family. While the Paulist Order is not a Jesuit Order, it has basically the same objective as the Jesuit order with regard to winning souls for the Catholic church. According to one Catholic source , the Paulist order is “A community of priests for giving missions and doing other Apostolic works, especially for making converts to the Catholic faith.” Robert Siciro is President of the Acton Institute, an ecumenical think tank where, incidentally, there are scores of articles by or about those in the Catholic faith, including a number of Jesuits. Now, through the Truth Project, thousands and thousands of evangelical/Protestant Christians have been introduced, by way of proxy, to the Eucharistic Evangelization.
The Fatima Plan
For those who are not convinced that we are headed toward a one-world religion for “peace,” take a trip some time to Fatima, Portugal where annual pilgrimages bring people from the religions of the world to pray to “the queen of heaven,” also called “our lady of Peace.”
Pope John Paul II was dedicated to Mary and especially “Our Lady of Fatima.” He believed this entity saved him from an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981, on the anniversary of the so-called apparition’s appearance (to have first occurred in 1917).
People from all around the world have been coming to Fatima to pray to “Our Lady.” At a gathering for “world peace” in Fatima, Jesuit priest Jacques Dupuis stated:
The religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all. The other religious traditions in the world are part of God’s plan for humanity and the Holy Spirit is operating and present in Buddhist, Hindu and other sacred writings of Christian and non-Christian faiths as well. The universality of God’s kingdom permits this, and this is nothing more than a diversified form of sharing in the same mystery of salvation.11
Fatima is just another avenue through which the Jesuit Agenda is being accomplished.
Perhaps the best way to understand the Jesuit Agenda that undermines biblical Christianity is to recognize the move toward a so-called “social gospel” that unites the religions of the world for the cause of peace. Like mysticism, this social gospel is a vehicle through which all religions will be united. Who would have believed this could have happened to the Protestant evangelical church? But we have already been warned in Scripture that Satan’s ministers are “transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15).
Rick Warren has been one of the many pied pipers of this move to unite through “good works.” Called “America’s pastor,” Warren has become the evangelical/Protestant spokesperson for a one-world religion. His Purpose Driven model has become the battle cry for let just all get along and do good. We can work together as one for one common purpose – peace in the world.
Willow Creek has helped to escalate this global religious body through their Global Leadership Summits, where they are “bringing people together from all nationalities to complete our shared Kingdom assignment in the Church and beyond”12 (emphasis added). Warren and Hybel’s global agenda is moving full force throughout the earth today.
Rick Warren and Bill Hybels – protégés of Peter Drucker, by the way – have advanced the Jesuit Agenda by leaps and bounds. Many of these “new” Christianity, new reformation leaders have ignored the prophetic warnings of Jesus Christ’s soon return based on the signs we see from Bible prophecy. Instead, they promote the establishment of the kingdom of God with all the world’s religions.
The emerging church movement, which has been widely propagated by Warren, Hybels, and a host of other Christian figures, has been used by Satan to quickly bring about this worldwide deception by introducing mystical experiences and the social gospel to an entire generation of young people. Sensual experiences that tickle the flesh of the postmodern generation are often the same ones that Rome has used in the past to convince the faithful that they have encountered the God of the Bible. History reveals that history is repeating, and the same tools of delusion are being used over and over.
Those who shine the light on the Jesuit Agenda are considered to be conspiratorial crackpots. The prophets of the past when they exposed the Babylonian worship by the leaders of Israel were also deemed to be crazy, as have been Bible-believing Christians since Christianity began. One of those was John Huss (1372-1415). John Foxe describes what happened:
[Huss] compiled a treatise in which he maintained that reading the books of Protestants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe’s book on the Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy of those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines. . . . 13
Eventually Huss was arrested, and when he was brought before the council (of the papacy), he was mocked and called “A ringleader of heretics,” to which he replied:
My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so shameful? Truly I will do it and willingly.14
At 43 years of age, John Huss was burned at the stake, singing hymns during the brutal execution. Why was he called a “ringleader of heretics”? For standing up for biblical truth against the Pope and Rome.
Discerning Christians should be asking many questions. But one question that stands out foremost is: why are so few saying anything about the Jesuit Agenda? Do they see it but are afraid to speak? Or do they see it and are part of it?
Speaking of questions, Jesus asked one: “[W]hen the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find it in the pastors and theological professors? Will He find it in your own church? Or will He only find those who have remained silent?
Just as God raised up others to carry the torch of truth after Huss was eliminated from this earth, God will and is raising up others today who are willing to risk all to stand for the truth and speak against the lies.
To believers who are standing fast, look up, for “your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. . . . See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:6-11, 15-17)
- John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing edition), p. 169.
- Rev. W.C. Brownlee, D.D., Secret Instructions of the Jesuits, http://www.archive.org/details/secretinstructio00brow at Boston College Libraries archives
- From the Publisher’s description at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Listening-Discovering-Spiritual-Exercises/dp/080106614X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309703869&sr=8-1#_
- Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 109, as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 60.)
- Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions (A Uni-Sun Book, 1985 4th printing), p. 33.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolfo_Nicol%C3%A1s and see http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0801316.htm
- Jesuit theologian Father Jacques Dupuis, at the 2003 interfaith congress “The Future of God; http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c19.shtml
- John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Eureka, MT, Lighthouse Trails Publishing edition), pp.160-164.
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Christian News Network
Rome, Italy –White smoke arose from the Sistine Chapel this evening in Rome, signaling to those watching that a new pope had been selected to lead the Roman Catholic religion.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was announced as being the successor of Pope Benedict XVI, a Jesuit Argentinian who was elevated to the role of cardinal in 2001 after serving as archbishop since 1998. He appeared dressed in white as the curtains opened on the balcony of St. Peter’s.
“First and foremost, I would like to pray for our emeritus Pope Benedict XVI that Christ and the Madonna watch over him,” he declared to the hundreds of thousands gathered, who began screaming as his image came into view. “Let us begin this journey together, this journey for the Roman Catholic Church. It’s a journey of friendship and love and faith between us. Let us pray for one another; let us pray for all the world.”
Bergoglio stated that one of his first acts as pope will be to pray to Mary, or as he referred to her, the Madonna. . . .
Rick Warren, author and megachurch pastor of Saddleback Church in California, however, was enthusiastic about the election of the new pope. As previously reported, Warren called for fasting and prayer yesterday for the cardinals that would be voting on the matter. Click here to continue reading.
My Journey Out of Catholicism by David Dombrowski
The Catholic Chronicles by Keith Green
This past week we received an e-mail from a reader who brought to our attention a video online showing where popular Calvinist teacher John Piper is asked the question: “Is there such a thing as contemplative prayer or Christian meditation in the Reformed and Puritan tradition?” Piper answers by first attempting to define contemplative prayer:
[T]here is a spiritual seeing, or what we would call contemplation. This is where, when you read your Bible, you pause and you see in and through the words to the reality with your heart, and you apprehend spiritual reality. And this gives rise to a kind of praying that is spiritual and authentic and personal and warm and strong.
In the video, Piper says he is “ticked” with Christian seminary classes that turn “mainly” to the “mystical Catholic tradition in order to find this kind of depth and this kind of personal connection with the living God that is both rational and supra-rational and very mystical in its communion.” He adds, “You don’t have to embrace bad theology, namely Roman Catholic historic bad theology, in order to find amazing representatives of those who’ve known God at this level.”
The obvious question that was not answered in this snippet is whom does Piper believe are some of these “amazing representatives” who can teach us about “good” contemplative prayer? Thanks to our keen-eyed reader, who sent us a link to Piper’s church’s bookstore, we found that answer, at least in part — none other than Richard Foster, whose book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is being sold on the Bethlehem Baptist Church’s bookstore website (source). Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is one of Foster’s primers on contemplative prayer. In that book, Foster tells us: “You must bind the mind with one thought” (p. 124). Foster’s advice echoes mystics such as Anthony DeMello as Ray Yungen points out in A Time of Departing (p. 75). Yungen warns that this binding the mind (getting rid of distractions and thoughts) is no different than classic Hindu meditation.
Ironically, while John Piper rejects the “Catholic” contemplatives, Foster does not. In Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster quotes and references several including Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Madame Guyon. With this in mind, we must reject the notion that John Piper is adequately distinguishing between bad Catholic contemplative prayer and good Protestant contemplative prayer. As we have always affirmed, there is no good contemplative prayer. And important to note, Thomas Merton was one of the significant figures in bringing contemplative meditation to the forefront, and Richard Foster is nothing less than a Merton disciple. So once again we have an example of a Christian leader talking out of both sides of the mouth and no doubt bringing confusion to his followers.
When Piper publicly interviewed Rick Warren in 2011, he showed his support for the Purpose Driven pastor’s doctrine when he stated: “At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound.”(1) This caused much dismay for those who understand the underlying beliefs of “America’s pastor.” Rick Warren is a strong advocate and promoter for contemplative mystics (such as Henri Nouwen) and the spiritual formation movement (the vehicle through which contemplative is entering the Protestant church).(2) So with John Piper’s embrace of Warren coupled with his apparent acceptance of Richard Foster, Piper students should be asking some prudent questions of their teacher. They should also dismiss the notion that we can distinguish between good and bad contemplative prayer. There is no such thing.
The following 10 minute preview video (from the New Face of Mystical Spirituality lecture series) by Ray Yungen may help show our concerns about contemplative prayer: