Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

Letter to the Editor: Evangelical Free Church Snowballing into Spiritual Deception Through Contemplative/Emerging

Greetings Lighthouse Trails:

I never thought I would be writing you, but I would like to tell you how much I appreciate your efforts, for few are those doing your type of ministry, certainly not in my experience, especially at the local level by church leadership! Let me get straight to the point of my writing—my wife and I have been attending an Evangelical Free Church for approximately five years now, but recently things are beginning to snowball in several areas.

One of those areas is that of Spiritual Formation and some other “mystical” directions such as an Emergent-type communion at our ladies retreat (darkened room, candles, veils, prayer stations, candlelight, ect.) along with the current teaching from Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God in a Sunday School class.  On the heels of this, there was a series begun in the regular preaching service based upon [contemplative author] John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted, in which his book was used four weeks running right alongside the Bible in the pulpit!  In the course of this (which was stopped due to the protests of a few), [mystic] Meister Eckhart was quoted in the Sunday bulletin. Over this, I’ve had several encounters with church leadership, all to no avail, and now unquestionably I’ve become a ‘marked man’ due to my protests.

All this to say that only recently I went to the National E-Free website only to find the following recommendations in their online magazine, seemingly one more organization lost to this movement.  My primary motive in writing you is merely to inform you regarding this group as well since I haven’t read much, if anything about them in your writings [editor’s note: We have written a few times about the EFCA, the most recent time here]. I am a former pastor and have a small e-mail list. Following is a portion of what I sent those on my list:

“FROM MY DESK:  Periodically I like to peruse the website of the national E-free church just as a matter of seeing what might be going on.  This particular site is generally not a fountainhead of information, often at least for me, leaving much unanswered and generally dealing only in the most general and accommodating ways with the subject matter.  Much to my surprise this time I found the following recommended list of books and authors, all of which indicated to me that this national headquarters is, for lack of a better expression, “coming out of the closet” and recommending to all the member and affiliated people and churches contemplative spirituality!

None of the books were written by men like D.L. Moody or G. Campbell Morgan, or Hudson Taylor, or even George Muller, or any other of a plethora of men whose lives and teachings have been respected for many, many years.  No, all of these authors are garnering their information from spiritual disciplines ‘outside’ the confines of Scripture and blending them, if you please, with their own twisted and manipulated version of biblical teachings.  These authors draw from sources such as psychology in its many forms, Quakerism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Zen Buddhism, and many other so-called religious traditions.  So the question becomes: how long will it take for these recommendations to begin having their effect in your local church?

Some of these names were unfamiliar to me, so I did my due diligence and to my utter astonishment–%100 of these authors are deeply involved in the Spiritual Transformation movement.  Something else I picked up along the way was that the common mantra amongst them is becoming “can’t we all just get along.” I suppose this is intended to deflect any opposition to their introduction of a false spirituality into the churches.  Keep in mind these books were recommended by participating E-Free pastors; what might this tell you?”

From the recommended resources of the Evangelical Free Church magazine website [most of these names can be found on the Lighthouse Trails Research site]:

Ruth Haley Barton. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s transforming presence and Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our lives for spiritual transformation

David G. Benner. Sacred Companions: The gift of spiritual friendship and direction and Desiring God’s Will: Aligning our hearts with the heart of God (available from Amazon.com)

 — (His) life’s work has been directed toward the promotion of the well-being of the inner life of persons, focusing in particular on the interaction of psychological and spiritual dynamics.  The underlying passion of his life has been the understanding and pursuit of transformation – not merely healing or even growth, but the unfolding of the self associated with a journey of awakening.  This has been the focus of his more than three decades of work in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and his more recent work as a spiritual guide to those who seek awakening and transformation through spiritual openness and contemplative stillness in action.

— David is a faculty member of The Rohr Institute’s Living School for Action and Contemplation where he serves as a Master Teacher. He currently makes this the exclusive venue for his teaching because of the deep congruence between the Rohr Institute’s core principles and his own – specifically, his conviction that the understanding and facilitation of transformation cannot be restricted to the best contemporary psychological and spiritual insights but must be grounded in the perennial wisdom tradition.

— The Rohr Institute’s Living School for Action and Contemplation provides such a course of study grounded in the Christian mystical tradition. Cultivating a contemplative mind through teachings and practices, students deepen their awareness of our common union with Divine Reality and all beings.

The Rohr Institute’s Living School offers students exclusive access to learn directly from Fr. (Fr. =Father) Richard Rohr, other core faculty, and invited master teachers. Fr. Richard is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province, and the Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, Strongly influenced by the Franciscan (as in Catholic) Alternative Orthodoxy

Mark Buchanan. The Holy Wild: Trusting in the character of God and The Rest of God: Restoring your soul by restoring Sabbath

Bruce Demarest. Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the heart of Christian spirituality

Brennan Manning. Abba’s Child: The cry of the heart for intimate belonging

 M. Robert Mulholland. Invitation to a Journey: A road map for spiritual formation

John Ortberg. The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual disciplines for ordinary people

Peter Scazzero. The Emotionally Healthy Church: A strategy for discipleship that actually changes lives and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a revolution in your life in Christ

Dallas Willard. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding how God changes lives and Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the character of Christ

[This note is at the bottom of the EFCA page]: * These resources are recommended by Cedarly Pastors Retreat. While Cedarly does not necessarily endorse every position of every writer, each of the resources listed has important things to say about our relationship with the Lord Jesus and the growth and nurture of that relationship.  [note from the LT reader: And each of them has its own brand of heresy!]

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Lighthouse Trails 2013 Year in Review—PART 2 – Top 7 Out-of-House News Stories in 2013

In Part 2 of the Lighthouse Trails 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW, we are presenting the Top 7 Out-of-House News Stories. These are from various  religious and secular news sources. We posted these stories this past year for research and informational purposes and not as an endorsement of the sources.

1) Planned Parenthood’s New Annual Report: We Did 333,964 Abortions; 1 Every 94 Seconds – “We are so proud of the year’s many successes.” (CNS News)
2) Washington Post Recognizes Large Influence Contemplative Spirituality Has On American Christians  (Washington Post)
3) Presbyterian Church USA Teams Up With American Islamists (The Clarion Project)
4)  IRS Admits to Intentional Targeting of Conservative Groups (Christian News Network)
5)  San Diego Judge OKs Yoga in Schools, Denies Religious Component  (NBC)
6) “Catholic, Protestant Churches Sign Historic Baptism Agreement” – Recognizing Each Others Baptisms  (Christian Post)
7) Pope Francis calls for intensified dialogue with Muslims – Everyone “a brother or sister.” (USA Today)
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Washington Post Recognizes Large Influence Contemplative Spirituality Has On American Christians

LTRP Note: The following news story is posted here for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the content. Interestingly, Washington Post wrote a similar story in 2008 titled “Feeling Renewed By Ancient Traditions.” In that story, they quoted briefly from one of the Lighthouse Trails editors (name spelled wrong) after a phone interview.

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post

“Americans turning to ancient music, practices to experience their faith”

“[T]he rise in interest in early practices has become so common that at Wheaton College, the prominent evangelical school in Chicago, “the joke is, all these people are now liturgical.”

In our of-the-minute culture, Santa seems old-fashioned. But Christians are exploring far older ways of observing the holiday.In the living room this week along with the pile of presents, there’s more likely to be a wreath or calendar marking Advent, the month leading up to Christmas that symbolizes the waiting period before Jesus’s birth. Christmas services largely dominated by contemporary music are mixing in centuries-old chants and other a cappella sounds. Holiday sermons on topics such as prayer, meditation and finding a way to observe the Sabbath are becoming more common.

These early — some use the term “ancient” — spiritual practices are an effort to bring what feels to some like greater authenticity to perhaps the most thoroughly commercialized of religious holidays, say pastors, religious music experts and other worship-watchers.

“It’s the recognition that Christianity didn’t start when someone got an electric guitar,” said Ed Stetzer, a pastor and church consultant who runs Lifeway Research, a Christian polling firm. “I think particularly among younger Christians, they’re drawn to smells and bells and history in a way that boomers weren’t on the same level.” Click here to continue reading.

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Embracing Contemplative Shows Ill Effects at Moody Bible Institute in Ecumenical “Road to Rome” Event

For over seven years now, Lighthouse Trails has followed Moody Bible Institute’s continued promotion of contemplative spirituality. Although the organization has denied that they are promoting contemplative, the evidence has consistently existed. Those who have a good understanding of contemplative spirituality are aware of the inevitable outcome for followers of contemplative. This outcome is a change in spiritual attitude that leads to the following – ecumenism (a joining together of all religious traditions, in particularly Catholicism first, then Islam),  interspirituality (all paths lead to God), panentheism (God is in all), and eventually universalism (all are saved, regardless of belief – thus no need for the Cross).

We had hoped that at some point leaders and professors at Moody would seriously examine the contemplative issue and come to the conclusion that they do not want to go in that direction. Sadly, the indications of that happening are non-existent, and the probability of the complete embracing of contemplative spirituality is fast increasing. A case in point occurred just this month when the school allowed an ecumenical/road to Rome  event to take place on campus, where it was reported that over 300 people showed up, most of them being MBI students.

On December 3rd, emerging church figure John Armstrong (a convert from traditional evangelicalism to emerging) and Catholic priest Father Robert Barron spoke at a gathering at Moody Bible Institute. The event was presented by the Moody Student Theological Society. It was not broadcasted, and Moody’s website doesn’t seem to show anything about it so we have had to gather information from various other sources, including the Moody Student Theological Society’s Facebook page, which carries information about the event, which was called the “Evangelical and Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue.” (Photo from the “Dialogue”: 2nd from left: Litfin, next: Armstrong, next: Robert Barron)

We were first alerted to the ecumenical “dialogue” by a Lighthouse Trails reader, who stated:

Heads up to things stirring at Moody Bible Institute. (Also, please read this blog entry about it:  http://www.revangelicalblog.com/blog1/?currentPage=3   from Dec. 4, titled, “Can We Learn from Rome? Maybe… (A Reflection on Ecumenical Unity). This is by that young man I have mentioned to you before, who rubs elbows with Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Jim Wallis, et. al.

The blog entry mentioned by the LT reader was written by a senior at Moody Bible Institute (MBI). On the post, he has this photo of the Vatican:

The MBI student states:

As I myself have been in the process of rediscovering the beauty of the ancient Christian tradition [contemplative] offered to us via the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and even Anglican versions of faith, I have also felt a tugging and noticed a trend of millennial evangelicals to convert to Catholicism- returning to Rome, if you will.

It is not our intention to draw attention to or scrutinize this student. Our issue is with MBI’s leadership and professors. We believe this and other students at Moody who are being drawn to contemplative . . . and Roman Catholicism  . . .  are merely reflecting the sympathies they have witnessed at Moody from professors and others in leadership. For instance, on John Armstrong’s website, he talks about his invitation to the “Evangelical and Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue” and points to one of the MBI professors:

Our dialogue tomorrow will begin with a welcome by a Moody student leader which will be followed by an introduction given by our moderator, Dr. Bryan Litfin (Ph.D. in the field of ancient church history at the University of Virginia). Dr. Litfin is a professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute. Bryan is also a first-rate patristics scholar and has often encouraged Christian dialogue as a part of his teaching. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers–An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007). Fr. Barron and I will each speak for about ten minutes and then we will field questions from the students.

It is interesting that Dr. Litfin was willing to moderate the event at MBI given that he is a Catholic convert to Protestantism. (correction: 11/16/15: we have learned that we were misinformed by our source, and Dr. Litfin was not a Catholic convert. In an e-mail to someone we know, he stated that he has always been an evangelical.) We decided to spend $13.99 to buy an e-book copy of Litfin’s book, Getting to Know the Church Fathers – an Evangelical Introduction. A better title for this book might be Why Evangelicals Should Not Think Too Lowly of the Catholic Church. Litfin says that the benefit of studying the “church fathers” is to “help us get in touch with the general thrust of the Christian faith”  (Kindle Locations 389-390, Baker Publishing Group). But from Litfin’s book’s point of view, the benefit of studying the church fathers is to see some good in the Roman Catholic church. Here’s one example in Litfin’s book where he whitewashes and minimizes the heretical teachings of Roman Catholicism:

[M]any Catholic teachings must be understood as continuous historical developments out of earlier thought. For example, though the theology has changed from biblical times, the breaking of bread and drinking of wine in the Mass is an evolution of the love feasts of the early Christians, for whom the elements represented the Savior’s body and blood just as they still do for Catholics. Likewise, recitation of the Lord’s Prayer is an ancient habit still practiced today. And there are not a few doctrines held by the Roman Church which every orthodox Protestant would hold as well. (Endnote section, #20, (Kindle Locations 4084-4088).

The MBI student (mentioned above) goes on to say:

The Catholic Church offers much of what many millennial Protestants are longing for – liturgy, artistic expression, scholarship, ancient tradition, and a robust and deeply rooted theology [i.e., the Desert Fathers and contemplative spirituality]. Rome offers one, united Christian body with many stripes, styles, and theological variations contained within one communion. And with the Roman Catholic Churches recent moves for ecumenical unity with the Eastern  church and a number of Protestant traditions, it seems to me that perhaps a return to Rome may be in some millennial Evangelicals future.

The MBI student expresses his own hope for the future:

My hope and prayer is that in the coming years, Evangelicals, Mainliners, Catholics, and Orthodox will find more and more common ground on which we can work together to expand the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that God would continue to cause us to rethink, reform, and renew our faith traditions and in so doing help us refine them to reflect more clearly the face of Jesus Christ- our common Lord and Savior.

When you consider that Moody has been promoting the contemplative tradition for so long and the Catholic Church uses contemplative prayer as a catalyst to bring in new converts, it makes perfect sense that a student attending Moody for three and a half years could say something like this.

In 2007, Moody posted a response to our criticisms that they were promoting contemplative. In that statement (which still sits on their site), they deny the allegations. But take a look at some of the related links we have provided below to see that indeed they have been promoting contemplative and continue to do so.

One person who would have been very upset about the recent “Evangelical and Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue” held at Moody is Harry Ironside, who was the pastor of the Moody Church (which also now promotes contemplative via its inclusion of sermons by contemplative/Spiritual Formation leader Larry Crabb [1]) from 1930-1948. He stated:

Every Roman Catholic priest will tell you that all  the claims of the Church of Rome stand or fall with the doctrine of the real  presence of Christ in the Mass. If the bread and wine used in the Sacrament of  the Mass, when consecrated by the priest, are changed in some mysterious way  into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ so that the  communicant receiving the bread actually takes into his mouth and eats and  digests the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ-if this is  true, then the Church of Rome is the true church of Christ and every one of us  should be members of it. But if it is false, if it is absolutely opposed to the  teaching of the Word of God, then the Church of Rome is an apostate church and  every faithful believer should come out of her in order that he might not be  held accountable for her sins.

It was because the great reformers of the sixteenth  century saw this clearly and were assured in their own hearts that the doctrine  of the Church of Rome in regard to the Eucharist or the Mass was absolutely  opposed to the Word of God and was not only blasphemous but idolatrous, that  they came out in protest against that apostate system and they won for us at  tremendous cost of Christian blood the liberty that we now possess. And yet we,  unworthy children of such worthy sires, are frittering away our liberty and we  are allowing our children to be ensnared again by this evil system from which  our fathers escaped with such tremendous effort. (From Ironside’s “The Mass Versus the Lord’s Supper”)

What is happening in the evangelical/Protestant church today is significant and utterly devastating. The contemplative issue has not at all been addressed by Christian leadership but rather the majority of Christian leaders have either embraced it or ignored it. To really understand where this is all going, consider these words by Ray Yungen who is talking about Thomas Merton here:

In a letter to a Sufi [Islamic mystic] Master, Merton disclosed, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana.” So what is fana? The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult defines it as “the act of merging with the Divine Oneness.”

Merton saw the Sufi concept of fana as being a catalyst for Muslim unity with Christianity despite the obvious doctrinal differences. In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:

“Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.”

To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:

“Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas … in words [doctrine] 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 [i.e., contemplative] … It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.” (emphasis added – quoted from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., pp. 59-60)

In other words, through mysticism, the world’s religions can come together and all can be one/unified. But, doctrines like the atonement, according to Merton, stand in the way and are “of little value.”

The Bible says in the last days there will be a harlot church. We are watching its formation right now; the tragedy is Christian leaders don’t even see it happening. And sadly, like so many other Christian campuses, Moody Bible Institute is falling into step with this apostasy.

If you have not read Roger Oakland’s recent article The New Evangelization From Rome or Finding the True Jesus Christ, we recommend you do to better understand the role that the Catholic church is playing in this apostasy.

Related Information/LT Coverage on Moody:

Concerns Grow as Moody Presses Forward Down Contemplative Path

Moody’s Pastors’ Conference Teaching Lectio Divina This Week – And Seven Years of Warning by Lighthouse Trails Go Unheeded

The Moody Church of Chicago Welcomes Contemplative Advocate Larry Crabb As Guest Speaker

Moody Publishers Release Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer

An Epidemic of Apostasy – Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited

 

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Time magazine names Pope Francis its ‘Person of the Year’ – “Captured the Imaginations of Millions”

 

LTRP Note: After reading the article below by the Washington Post, please re-read some of the 2013 Lighthouse Trails coverage on Pope Francis. (See the links below the article.) When you consider that the new pope is contemplative, interspiritual, ecumenical, and soft toward the homosexual issue – basically, an emerging “progressive” pope – it’s no wonder Time magazine (which promotes all of the above) named Pope Francis “Person of the Year.”

By Lillian Cunningham
The Washington Post

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - DECEMBER 04: Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square for his weekly audience on December 4, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. At the end of his General Audience Pontiff called on everyone to pray for a group of nuns taken by force from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in the ancient Christian town of MaÕlula in Syria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)The red border of Time magazine will frame Pope Francis as its 2013 Person of the Year, the magazine announced Wednesday morning. By the judgment of Time’s editorial staff, the pope — elected earlier this year after a surprise resignation by predecessor Pope Benedict XVI — was the most influential global newsmaker of the past 12 months. Earlier this week, Time narrowed the finalists down to 10, then five. Pope Francis ultimately won out over NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Texas senator Ted Cruz and gay rights activist Edith Windsor.

“[W]hat makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all,” Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias write in the cover story. “In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church.”

Coverage by Lighthouse Trails:

United Nations Chief Hails Pope Francis as “a Spiritual Leader of the World”

The Implications of Pope Francis Recent Remarks about Homosexuality and Abortion

Pope Francis calls for intensified dialogue with Muslims – Everyone “a brother or
sister.”

Pope Francis – Spiritually “Founded” on a Contemplative Tradition

Evangelical Leaders Luis Palau and Rick Warren Salute Pope Francis – What Are the Implications?

The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ

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The Catholic Church Continues Drawing In the “Lost Brethren” Through Eucharistic Adoration

Pope Francis

LTRP Note: For a number of years now, Lighthouse Trails author Roger Oakland has been warning the body of Christ about the Catholic Church’s “new evangelization” program, which is basically an effort to bring the “lost brethren” (Protestants) into the Catholic church. Roger has been stating all along that to do this the Papacy is using what they call “Eucharistic adoration.” The article below from the Vatican news agency is another current example of the reality of this happening. In Roger’s Booklet Tract The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ,  he explains:

The New Evangelization program will use Eucharistic adoration to rekindle Eucharistic amazement, and more and more people will be drawn by experience to the Eucharistic Christ. An experience-based Christianity not supported biblically is one of the most effective ways to lead people astray. If the New Evangelization points people to a Eucharistic Christ associated with profound experiences including healings, miracles, and signs and wonders, it has the potential to bring vast delusion. We are witnessing this today.

In what way does this tie in with what is happening in the church? Well, mainly through the contemplative prayer movement. Ray Yungen talks about this in his article  “Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion,” where he says:

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

As we witness most of the major Christian figures today embracing contemplative spirituality, please know that this is moving things quickly toward the Catholic Church’s goal to envelope all non-Catholic Christian-proclaiming peoples to itself. And this always brings to mind the Christian martyrs identified  in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs who died painful torturous deaths because they would not embrace the Eucharistic “Christ” of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who think that those days could never happen again are only fooling themselves. The force behind those deaths – Satan – is at work today more than ever before because he knows the day of the Lord’s return as well as His final judgment draws near. 

From Zenit news in Rome (the Vatican news agency)

“Vatican Congregation Makes DVD About Eucharistic Adoration”

Cardinal Cañizares: There will be no ‘new evangelization’ without adoration

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments together with HM Television has just published a new DVD that will help the faithful rediscover the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in the life and mission of the Church. It is the second video in a series of four, entitled: “From the Visible to the Invisible.”  The video contains testimonies of conversion thanks to Eucharistic Adoration, as well as its history and the biblical foundations.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has strongly supported and encouraged the production of this video precisely because he believes that, “the New Evangelization will not be possible if there is no Adoration.” Click here to continue reading.

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Kundalini Energy (the effects of Soaking Prayer)

LTRP Note: Because “soaking prayer” is becoming increasingly popular, and because we believe the effects of it are potentially dangerous (kundalini), we are posting this warning by Ray Yungen. As well as the links below this article, we have information on our research site about “soaking prayer.”

by Ray Yungen

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

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

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

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

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

No longer is there any sense of alienation, for the Ground that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation. It seems that the mystics of all the world’s religions know something of this.4

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

[T]he significance of this work, perhaps, lies in its potential to contribute to the dialogue between Christianity and Eastern forms of mysticism such as are promoted in what is called New Age spirituality.5

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

I cannot make any decisions for myself without the approbation of the inner adviser, whose voice speaks so clearly in times of need … there is a distinct sense of an inner eye of some kind “seeing” with my two sense eyes.6

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

This practice has already spread extensively throughout the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainline churches. And it has now crossed over and is manifesting itself in conservative denominations as well–ones that have traditionally stood against the New Age. Just as a tidal wave of practical mystics has hit secular society, so it has also in the religious world. St. Romain makes one observation in his book that I take very seriously. Like his secular practical mystic brethren, he has a strong sense of mission and destiny. He predicts:

Could it be that those who make the journey to the True Self are, in some ways, demonstrating what lies in store for the entire race? What a magnificent world that would be–for the majority of people to be living out of the True Self state. Such a world cannot come, however, unless hundreds of thousands of people experience the regression of the Ego in the service of transcendence [meditation], and then restructure the culture to accommodate similar growth for millions of others. I believe we are only now beginning to recognize this task.7

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

You are one with the Deity, as is all of humanity … Everything is one with everything else. All that is on Earth is an expression of the One Deity and is permeated with Its energies.8

St. Romain’s statement was, “[T]he Ground [God] that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation.”9 The two views are identical!

St. Romain came to this view through standard contemplative prayer, not Zen, not yoga but a Christian form of these practices. The lights were also a reoccurring phenomenon as one contemplative author suggested:

Christian literature makes reference to many episodes that parallel the experiences of those going a yogic way. Saint Anthony, one of the first desert mystics, frequently encountered strange and sometimes terrifying psychophysical forces while at prayer.10

Unfortunately, this experience was not confined to St. Anthony alone. This has been the common progression into mystical awareness throughout the centuries, which also means many now entering the contemplative path will follow suit. This is not just empty conjecture. One mystical trainer wrote:

[T]he classical experience of enlightenment as described by Buddhist monks, Hindu gurus, Christian mystics, Aboriginal shamans, Sufi sheiks and Hebrew kabalists is characterized by two universal elements: radiant light and an experience of oneness with creation.11

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

This issue is clearly a serious one to contend with. Many individuals, using terms for themselves like spiritual director, are showing up more and more in the evangelical church. Many of them teach the message of mystical prayer.

Footnotes
1. Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, Crossroad Pub. Co., 1995, p. 20-21.
2. Ibid., pp. 22-23.
3. Ibid., pp. 28-29.
4. Ibid., p. 107.
5. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
6. Ibid., p. 39.
7. Ibid., pp. 75-76.
8. Deborah Hughes and Jane Robertson-Boudreaux, Metaphysical Primer, Metagnosis Pub., 1991, p. 27.
9. St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, op. cit. p. 107.
10. Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path, op. cit., p. 72.
11. Michael J. Gelb, The How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci Workbook, Dell Publishing, New
York, NY, 1999, p. 142.

Related Information:

SOAKING? A spiritual discipline or Eastern mysticism?

CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) Presents Soaking Prayer Seminar – Serious Problems with This Practice

“I Just Had a Vision” by Kevin Reeves

John Wimber’s Paradigm Shift, The River Movement and the Kundalini Effect

 

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