Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’
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:
The latest from Understand the Times News in Review:
- February 24 – Protestant scholar lauds Benedict’s ecumenical strides
- February 20 – Catonsville Episcopal church makes switch to Catholicism
- February 22 – New Evangelization: Priorities for the Next Pope
- February 23 – South Dakota college tests fingerprint purchasing technology
- February 20 – Earthquake Catastrophes and Fatalities Projected to Rise in Populous 21st Century
- February 26 – Freescale’s Insanely Tiny ARM Chip Will Put the Internet of Things Inside Your Body
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
He is commonly known as “America’s Pastor.” One of his books, The Purpose Driven Life, has been listed as one of the most widely distributed books ever published. Pastors from around the world follow his every move. He has become the leading voice with regard to church-growth methodology. The past several decades show that Rick Warren has always been at the leading edge of innovative and creative ideas for both evangelical and non-evangelical communities.
Being purpose driven is the phrase that has been coined to explain how to be motivated and make a difference in the world and the church. Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan is designed to work together to solve global problems with global solutions by uniting global religions to work together for the cause of good. His Daniel weight loss program that he promotes uses ideas from New Age gurus thus giving a facelift to what it once meant to be an evangelical Bible-believing Christian.
Furthermore, those who have resisted the agenda authored by Warren to re-shape Christianity for the twenty-first century are often told to get with the program, make the transition, or find another place to fellowship. The Purpose Driven Peace Plan has taken what was once evangelical Christianity by storm. The only question that remains to be answered is what will be the next level of indoctrination that will comply with Warren’s agenda to influence the world and the church? Click here to continue reading.
ANOTHER STEP TOWARD ROME: “Catholic, Protestant Churches Sign Historic Baptism Agreement” – Recognizing Each Others Baptisms
LTRP Note: Another big step toward a one-world ecumenical religion (which will someday worship that false christ known as anti-christ) that the Bible tells us is coming before the return of Jesus Christ.
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.” –David Dombrowski, from his print booklet tract, My Journey Out of Catholicism
By Michael Gryboski
Leaders representing the Roman Catholic Church and some American Protestant denominations have signed an agreement in Texas to recognize each other’s baptisms.
After about six years of dialogue, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and the United Church of Christ signed a document recognizing each other’s liturgical rites of baptism.
The five denominations signed the “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism,” affirming the baptism agreement on Tuesday evening at a prayer service held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin. Click here to continue reading.
LTRP Note: The film, The Radicals, depicts the persecution believers went through for refusing to compromise. They would not baptize infants. See below for a segment of that film.
From Our Beliefs page: We do not believe in infant baptism, but rather baptism is a public declaration of one’s faith (that is one who is old enough to understand that he has faith in Jesus Christ) – Acts 10:48. If you have never been baptized as either an older child (not an infant) or as an adult, we encourage you to do so as Scripture instructs to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have committed their lives to Him by faith through His grace.
Comment from Understand the Times: The pathway towards unification with Rome is becoming more and more apparent to those who can see the coming One World Religion with headquarters in Rome. Unfortunately, while this is taking place, there are fewer who are willing to point out this sign of the End Times and warn the sheep. For example, those who follow leaders, many of them who follow the Purpose Driven model promoted by Rick Warren, claim that “it is better to be known for what you are for than what you are against.” In doing so, they close their eyes to the signs that reveal Bible prophecy is underway and become part of the deception that is underway.
See below for a segment of The Radicals.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times International
In my research for Understand The Times, I have read a myriad of books and articles dealing with current events. From time to time, I come across information that opens up new avenues of research that sheds light into the darkness. Such information is important to my calling to warn people about the deception that is taking place around the world in the name of Christ in the days in which we live.
Jesus warned us about Last Days spiritual deception that would take place before He returned to planet earth. When asked by His disciples what events would indicate His second coming was near, He responded with a number of answers. Without question, His most urgent warning was centered on the fact that many would be deceived by many in His name. 
Thomas Petrisko’s book, Mother of the Secret: From Eucharistic Miracles to Marian Apparitions – heaven has sought to illuminate and defend what was once the Church’s greatest secret gives Bible believers a serious glimpse of the kind of deception that Jesus was warning about. This entire book is focused on Eucharistic miracles and Marian apparitions. It is written with the idea that signs and wonders associated with the “presence of Jesus” in the Eucharist and the appearances of his mother Mary happening worldwide are fundamental to understanding true Christianity.
Click here to continue reading.
A recent Orange County Register news story titled “Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims” has caught the attention of many people including several online news sources. The story resulted in a rebuttal by Rick Warren, denying the allegations the article made. For those who are trying to figure out what Rick Warren’s true beliefs are regarding Muslims and Christians uniting, we think the best way to unravel the confusion is to take a look at the past. There are a number of telling statements that Rick Warren has made over the past seven years that paint a very clear picture of Warren’s goals regarding this issue.
If I were to say to you that much of the church today has set aside the power of God, would you be shocked? After all, we live in a time where having the power of God in your life is a major theme preached from pulpits across the country. And book after book, sold in massive quantities, pour off the presses promising a special connection or intimacy with God that will revolutionize your life and make it more dynamic. Yet, I believe I can prove in this article that in fact, the power of God is being laid aside, and I will tell you how.
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).
In 2007 and 2008, books, videos, broadcasts, and news articles were pouring into mainstream America with a guilt-ridden message that basically manipulated conservative Christians into thinking that either they shouldn’t vote because “Jesus wouldn’t vote,” or they shouldn’t vote on morality issues such as abortion or homosexuality. Suddenly, all over the place there was talk about “destroying Christianity,” or “liking Jesus but not the church,” or “Jesus for president” (suggesting that maybe we could get Him on the ballot but certainly we shouldn’t vote for anyone already on the ballot). It all sounded very noble to many. After all, everybody knows there is so much political corruption in high government and certainly as much hypocrisy within the walls of many proclaiming Christian leaders and celebrities.
On March 26, 2012, Reformed pastor John Armstrong and Catholic Cardinal George of Chicago will come together at Wheaton College for “A Conversation on Unity in Christ’s Mission.” The flyer you see to the left reads: “An evening of dialogue exploring the common ground and current challenges that face Catholics and evangelical Protestants in Christian faith and mission.” The event came about last summer when Armstrong met with Cardinal George and asked him, ”Would you join me in a public venue to further discuss this idea of missional-ecumenism?” The Cardinal agreed, and thus the “Conversation” at Wheaton in March.
In a growing controversy where Wycliffe Bible Translators is removing “familial terms” such as Son of God and Father in their Bible translations in order to accommodate Muslim readers, the organization posted a statement . . . This statement came on the heels of Wycliffe issuing a statement a few days
earlier than the one above, criticizing accusations that they had indeed been removing the terms.
The Moody Church in Chicago Illinois has an impressive history. It was named after its founding pastor, the famous Dwight L. Moody. It’s been through a
number of pastors and buildings since the early 1800s, and if Dwight Moody were here this coming Sunday to listen to the guest speaker, we think he might find himself shocked to learn that this speaker is a strong advocate of contemplative spirituality and the spiritual formation movement.
Over the last ten years since Lighthouse Trails began, we have been contacted by many who love the Lord and were struggling with great challenges: Some were ostracized by their churches, which had gone Purpose Driven, contemplative, or emerging; some had division in their families; some had financial concerns; and others were worried about health issues – whether their own or that of loved ones. Beyond all of this, many have expressed a sense of uncertainty or foreboding of what the future will bring.
Biblegateway, “an online searchable Bible in dozens of versions and languages” is one of the most popular websites on the Internet today, ranking in the top 1000 sites in the world. Over 48,000 websites link to or recommend Biblegateway. Needless to say, their reach is substantial. Thus, it is with dismay to report that on their official blog this past September, Biblegateway introduced their readers to the contemplative practice of Lectio Divina in an article written by Brian Hardin called “Lectio Divina: Diving Reading.”
In Nouwen’s book, Sabbatical Journey (which was a diary or journal of what turned out to the be the last year of his life), Nouwen admitted he was
listening to tapes on the chakras (which Reiki is based on) during that final year, and in that same book he discusses meeting a man named Andrew Harvey at a talk Harvey was giving. Nouwen said he was particularly attracted to this homosexual New Ager’s mystical affinities. It is Harvey who stated: “we are all
essentially children of the Divine and can realize that identity with our Source here on earth and in a body.”
OTHER 2012 YEAR IN REVIEW CATEGORIES FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS:
1/Like We Said, Brian McLaren Wants the Minds of Your Children and Grandchildren (EMERGING CHURCH)
5/Video Previews: Perpetuated in Righteousness? Did God Redeem Cultures? (NEW SPIRITUALITY)
6/A Debate: “Mariology: Who Is Mary According to Scripture?” (ROAD TO ROME)
7/Joe Schimmel’s Submerging Church Film Capsulates the “New” Spirituality Exposing Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, and Bono (EMERGING CHURCH/CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER)