Posts Tagged ‘david benner’

Southern Baptist’s Gateway Seminary Added to Contemplative-Promoting College List – A Gateway to Apostasy

Gateway logo (used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act)

Gateway logo (used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act)

After a request by a Lighthouse Trails reader to check into Southern  Baptist Convention’s Gateway Seminary which has locations in five different US cities, Lighthouse Trails has added Gateway Seminary to the Lighthouse Trails Contemplative-Promoting College list. If you are not familiar with that list, it is a list of NOT recommended Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries. These schools all have one major thing in common. They all promote contemplative spirituality through their Spiritual Formation programs. So, in other words, these are schools that are not going to be biblically sound and will be a spiritual danger to students.

You can do some of your own research on Gateway Seminary by visiting this page that lists all their course’s syllabi: http://www.gs.edu/academics/course-syllabi/. But here is one example:

  1. In Gateway’s Dr. David Robinson’s Spiritual Formation course, his syllabus states: “This course is designed to explore and experience the concepts of Christian spiritual formation and the establishment of spiritual disciplines that foster continuous spiritual growth. Students will participate directly in specific spiritual disciplines.” Here’s the required textbooks for the course:

Benner, David G. The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery. DownersGrove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Buchanan, Mark. The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. Nashville, TN:W Publishing Group, Div. of Thomas Nelson, 2006.

Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. NewYork, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1991.

That means if your future (or even present) pastor or  youth pastor is studying at that school, he is going to get a hardy helping of the writings of contemplative prayer advocates. You see Dallas Willard was highly influenced by the Catholic contemplative prayer movement as is David Benner. And don’t be fooled by Mark Buchanan’s innocent sounding book title. His book is endorsed on the back cover by emerging figures Lauren Winner and Philip Yancey. And why wouldn’t they endorse the book?—It fits right in with what they believe. And his book is filled with the usual contemplative language and suspects.

You must remember, in the contemplative prayer movement, the whole objective is to convince people they must “stop thinking,” “rest the mind,” “still the soul,” “be still,” “turn off thoughts,” and so forth. What they are really talking about is putting the mind in neutral, so to speak, and thus going into an altered state of consciousness as prescribed in eastern meditation. Why? So one can “hear the voice of God.” What is this “voice of God” going to tell you? That you are “beloved,” “divine,” “I AM,” “a higher self,” “the true self”—oh yes, that you are God!! That’s what this whole movement is all about. Whether it’s Jesus Calling, The Shack, Purpose Driven, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, or Henri Nouwen, the message is coming across loud and clear, YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD! This “hearing the voice of God” that happens during contemplative meditation is different than the legitimate prompting, leading, and guiding of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

The problem contemplatives have run into in their idea of hearing the voice of God is a two-fold obstacle: the Word of God and our minds (our thoughts). So we have to turn the Bible into a meditation tool with things like lectio divina and then shut out those thoughts we have with meditation exercises. Then we can finally hear “the voice of God.” Remember what Brennan Manning said:

“The first step of faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer.” -From Signature of Jesus, Brennan Manning, p. 212 (page 198 in a later edition)

Lighthouse Trails has always said that contemplative and emerging are synonymous terms? Take a look at professor Robinson’s bibliography for his Spiritual Formation course at Gateway Seminary. It’s a “Cream of the Crop” who’s who in emerging contemplative spirituality. A few names in his list: Brian McLaren, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Morton Kelsey, John of the Cross, Doug Pagitt, Eugene Peterson, and Teresa of Avila. These are the people from whom this professor is gleaning spiritual food. Not only are these all promoters of contemplative mysticism, most of them are panenthestic.

Another class from Gateway that is taking instruction from contemplative authors is Dr. Dallas Bivins’ Spiritual Formation class. Many of the same names as Robinson’s class, but add Kenneth Boa’s Handbook to Prayer to that. Boa, as Lighthouse Trails has documented in the past, is a strong advocate for contemplative spirituality.

Then there is Dr. Bob Bender’s Pastoral Counseling class at Gateway Seminary with a number of contemplative/emergent authors listed in the syllabus including Brian McLaren admirer Dan Allender (not to mention Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, David Benner, Larry Crabb, and others of similar caliber).

Robinson, Bivins, and Bender’s classes are part of Gateway’s Leadership Formation program. Scary to think of the kind of leaders Gateway is going to produce for the church.

Lest you think it’s just their Leadership Formation program that has serious problems, their Global Missions program is riddled with contemplative emergent influences as well. Other syllabi authors used by Gateway Seminary include emerging figures  N.T. Wright, Alan Hirsch, Eddie Gibbs (see Faith Undone), Mark Driscoll, Bill Hybels, Sally Morgenthaler, Tim Keller,  Catholic convert Peter Kreeft (listed under In Defense of the Christian Faith!), not to mention C. Peter Wagner. We think you get the point.

If you belong to the Southern Baptist Convention and are thinking of sending someone you care about to Gateway Seminary, we hope you will reconsider.

Here’s a closing piece of documentation we found from Gateway Seminary’s website. It’s an article written by Dr. Doran McCarty called “A Guide for Spiritual Formation Mentors.” In this article, McCarty talks about spiritual hunger. He says even Christians have this. This is typical of those who promote contemplative spirituality. Across the board, contemplatives insist that Christians feel dry, empty, want to go deeper, etc. We can’t think of one contemplative we have studied who has not indicated this. What has always puzzled us is this: If someone has had the new birth in Jesus Christ, which means he or she has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (God), how can we feel empty, dry, and needing to “go deeper”? Now one may feel this way if he or she has neglected time in the Word and in prayer but what contemplatives suggest is that even time in the Word and normal prayer are not enough – something more is needed. What they neglect to tell us is that while the Holy Spirit has been given to believers to nurture, convict, and guide us as we pray and study His Word, there is also a pseudo Holy Spirit (i.e., familiar spirits) that come to those who engage in mind-altering meditation. We know that contemplative prayer is wrong because mind altering or mantra meditation is forbidden in Deuteronomy 18:9-13, and Jesus instructed His disciples not to use such a prayer practice in Matthew 6:7. We also know contemplative prayer is wrong because the proven fruit of this practice is that it leads to a pantheistic or panentheistic spiritual outlook while the message of the Cross (the Gospel) becomes irrelevant as the participant grows to believe that we are already a part of God.

Now if we are in Christ, we do have the Holy Spirit with and in us, and He promises never to leave us. But those like McCarty have something else in mind. What caught our attention most in this article by McCarty is his reference to and quoting of panentheist Tilden Edwards (also co-founder of the Shalem Prayer Institute in Washington, DC). McCarty quotes Edwards referencing the “spiritual friend.” In Edwards’ book, Spiritual Friend, he says the following:

“This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality.”—Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18.

This is what Lighthouse Trails has been trying to warn the church about for nearly 15 years.

For those who are unsure as to how the majority of Christian schools ended up in this mess, please read our special report An Epidemic of Apostasy – How Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited.”  In that report, you will learn that largely due to accreditation associations (such as ATS, where Gateway Seminary is accredited) requiring Christian schools to have Spiritual Formation integrated into their schools if they want to be accredited (kind of a quazi-bribing situation, if you will) is why this is happening at such a fast rate. From nearly fifteen years of research, we estimate that over 90% of the Christian higher education institutions have brought in Spiritual Formation (aka contemplative spirituality). That’s called a spiritual crisis in modern-day Christianity and a gateway into apostasy.

If you are confused about what contemplative prayer is, please read this article by Ray Yungen: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=18192.

 

 

Letter to the Editor: My Pastor Asks Church to Read David Benner – Who is He?

To Lighthouse Trails:

Our Pastor has started a series based on a book “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self Discovery” by David G. Benner. What can you tell me about this book and the author? What our pastor has read from this book is very strange because in the first few pages there is no mention of the Bible. Can you help me because I think this book is a farce.

B.G.

Dear B.G.

David Benner is one of the major heavy weights in contemplative spirituality. First of all, this particular book of his is promoted and endorsed by some of the most prolific contemplative mystics out there today, including the Catholic interspiritualist priest Richard Rohr (a modern day Thomas Merton) and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (Handbook on Spiritual Disciplines). In addition to the endorsements, the foreword is written by Basil Pennington. Ray Yungen discusses Pennington in his book A Time of Departing. Yungen explains:

In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington (both Catholic monks), the following advice is given: “We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices …” Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart, and both are major evangelists for contemplative prayer. (p. 64)

The following two quotes by Pennington show his panentheistic beliefs (God is in all):

It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced. ( Centered Living, p. 192)

The Spirit enlightened him [Merton] in the true synthesis [unity] of all and in the harmony of that huge chorus of living beings. In the midst of it he lived out a vision of a new world, where all divisions have fallen away and the divine goodness is perceived and enjoyed as present in all and through all. (Thomas Merton, My Brother, pp. 199-200.)

Enneagram

Enneagram

Regarding the specific book by Benner of which you inquired, it is loaded with quotes by, references to, and ideas from numerous contemplative mystics including Thomas Merton, Dallas Willard, Gary Moon, Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, and of course, Basil Pennington. And throughout the book, Benner recommends contemplative meditation, enneagrams (a meditation tool), visualization, and other means to help the reader become a contemplative mystic. The fact is, the very essence of this book shares the same vision and emphasis that most contemplative books do.  It is important to understand what the contemplative means by “self-discovery,” or finding your true self. To the contemplative, we each have a false self and a true self. This true self can only be reached or attained to through going into the meditative silence, whereupon, they say, we find that true self which is the divinity within all human beings. The core of contemplative spirituality is panentheism (God in all) and the fruit is interspirituality (all paths lead to God).  In The Gift of Being Yourself, Benner’s focus is on helping readers find their “true self,” their divinity within (not dependent on being born again and having Jesus Christ living in you).

Benner has devoted his writing career to spreading the contemplative prayer message such as his book Open to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer, in which teaches readers the contemplative practice lectio divina. You can read our article/booklet on this subject: LECTIO DIVINA-What it is, What it is not, and Should Christians Practice it?

Basil Pennington

Basil Pennington

Isn’t it something that The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self Discovery is published by InterVarsity Press! While they have certainly published many contemplative books, this one truly shows how strongly they believe in this panentheistic, interspiritual spirituality. And it reminds us once again that the Christian church is in very big trouble, and yet virtually no Christian leader is warning about it. On the contrary. Rick Warren himself has promoted many contemplatives over the years including Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, and several others.

We would encourage you to see if your pastor would read a copy of A Time of Departing. However, we fear that he, like so many other pastors today, may be well down the contemplative road. If he, himself, is practicing contemplative meditation, then he is being drawn in by seducing spirits (familiar spirits); and to convince someone to step away and denounce those euphoric mind-altering experiences is as hard as convincing a drug addict to give up heroin. That’s why the Catholic priest Thomas Merton likened an LSD trip to the contemplative experience. Both entice their victims to think they are reaching God when in fact they are falling into spiritual darkness.

Note: You can find more information about most of the names mentioned above on our research site: www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com and in our books and booklets.

The Who’s Who List in Bringing the New Spirituality into the Church

A-Directory-Of-Authors-Three-NOT-Recommended-ListsBy Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network

Each of the following authors professes to be Christian and/or uses biblical terminology in his or her writing, yet promotes at least one of the following serious false teachings: contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation), the emergent, progressive “new” spirituality, the seeker-friendly, church-growth movement (e.g., Willow Creek, Purpose Driven) and/or Yoga. This list is taken from Chris Lawson’s Booklet, A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists)

A

Abbott, David L.

Adams, James Rowe

Allender, Dan

Arico, Carl J.

Armstrong, Karen

Artress, Lauren

Assagioli, Roberto

B

Babbs, Liz

Bakker, Jay

Barton, Ruth Haley

Bass, Diana Butler

Batterson, Mark

Baxter, Mary

Bell, Rob

Benner, David

Bennison, John

Bentley, Todd

Bickle, Mike

Bjorklund, Kurt

Blanchard, Ken

Boa, Kenneth

Bolger, Ryan

Bolz-Weber, Nadia

Bono

Bordenkircher, Susan

Borg, Marcus

Bourgeault, Cynthia

Bronsink, Troy

Brother Lawrence

Brueggemann, Walter

Bruteau, Beatrice

Buchanan, John M.

Budziszewski, J.

Buford, Bob

Burke, Spencer

C

Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg

Caliguire, Mindy

Campbell, Joseph

Campolo, Bart

Campolo, Tony

Canfield, Jack

Card, Michael

Carroll, L. Patrick

Chalke, Steve

Chalmers, Joseph

Chinmoy, Sri

Chittister, Joan

Claiborne, Shane

Coe, John

Coffin, William Sloane

Collins, Jim

Crabb, Larry

Cron, Ian

Crossan, John Dominic

Crowder, David

D

De Mello, Anthony De Waal, Esther

Demarest, Bruce

Dillard, Annie

Dowd, Michael

Dykes, David R

Driscoll, Mark

Drury, Keith

Dyckman, Katherine Marie

E

Edwards, Gene

Edwards, Tilden

Egan, Harvey

Epperly, Bruce

Evans, Rachel Held

F

Felten, David

Fleming, Dave

Flowers, Betty Sue

Ford, Leighton

Fosdick, Harry Emerson

Foster, Richard

Fox, George

Fox, Matthew

Friend, Howard E., Jr.

Funk, Mary Margaret

G

Garrison, Becky

Geering, Lloyd

Gibbs, Eddie

Gire, Ken

Goleman, Daniel

Goll, James

Graham, Dom Alfred

Greig, Pete

Griffin, Emilie

Griffiths, Bede

Gru, Jean-Nicholas

Gungor

H

Haas, Peter Traban

Haight, Roger

Haliczer, Stephen

Hall, Thelma

Hansen, Mark Victor

Hays, Edward

Hazard, David

Healey, Charles

Hedrick, Charles

Hildegard of Bingen

Hipps, Shane

Holmes, Emily

Hougen, Judith

Humphreys, Carolyn

Hunard, Hannah

Hunt, Anne

Hunter, Todd

Hybels, Bill

I

Ignatius Loyola, St.

Issler, Klaus

J

Jager, Willigis

Jenks, Gregory C.

Johnson, Jan

Johnston, William

Jones, Alan

Jones, Laurie Beth

Jones, Tony

K

Kaisch, Ken

Keating, Thomas

Kelsey, Morton

Kent, Keri Wyatt

Kidd, Sue Monk

Kimball, Dan

King, Mike

King, Robert H.

Kraft, Robert A.

Kreeft, Peter

L

L’Engle, Madeleine

Lamott, Anne

Law, William

M

Madigan, Shawn

Main, John

Manning, Brennan

Martin, James

Mattioli, Joseph

Matus, Thomas

May, Gerald

McColman, Carl

McKnight, Scot

McLaren, Brian

McManus, Erwin

Meninger, William

Meyers, Robin R.

Miller, Calvin

Miller, Donald

Moon, Gary

Moore, Beth

Moore, Brian P.

Moran, Michael T.

Moreland, J.P.

Morganthaler, Sally

Mother Theresa

Mundy, Linus

Muyskens, John David

N

Newcomer, Carrie

Norris, Gunilla Brodde

Norris, Kathleen

Nouwen, Henri

O

Ortberg, John

P

Pagels, Elaine

Pagitt, Doug

Palmer, Parker

Paloma, Margaret M.

Patterson, Stephen J.

Peace, Richard

Peale, Norman Vincent

Pennington, Basil

Pepper, Howard

Peterson, Eugene

Piper, John

Plumer, Fred

Pope Benedict XVI

Procter-Murphy, Jeff

R

Rakoczy, Susan

Reininger, Gustave

Rhodes, Tricia

Robbins, Duffy

Robbins, Maggie

Rohr, Richard

Rolle, Richard

Rollins, Peter

Romney, Rodney

Ruether, Rosemary Radford

Rupp, Joyce

Russell, A.J.

Ryan, Thomas

S

Sampson, Will

Sanford, Agnes

Scandrette, Mark

Scazzero, Pete

Schuller, Robert

Selmanovic, Samir

Senge, Peter

Shannon, William

Shore, John

Sinetar, Marsha

Sittser, Gerald

Smith, Chuck, Jr.

Smith, Elizabeth

Smith, James Bryan

Southerland, Dan

Spangler, Ann

Spong, John Shelby

St. Romain, Philip

Stanley, Andy

Steindl-Rast, David

Strobel, Kyle

Sweet, Leonard

T

Talbot, John Michael

Tasto, Maria

Taylor, Barbara Brown

Teague, David

Thomas, Gary

Thompson, Marjorie

Thresher, Tom

Tiberghien, Susan

Tickle, Phyllis

Treece, Patricia

Tuoti, Frank

Twiss, Richard

V

Vaswig, William (Bill)

Virkler, Mark

Voskamp, Ann

W

Wallis, Jim

Wakefield, James

Ward, Benedicta

Ward, Karen

Warren, Rick

Webber, Robert

Wilhoit, James C.

Willard, Dallas

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan

Winner, Lauren

Wink, Walter

Wolsey, Roger

Wright, N.T.

Y

Yaconelli, Mark

Yaconelli, Mike

Yancey, Phillip

Yanni, Kathryn A.

Yarian, Br. Karekin M., BSG

Young, Sarah

Young, William Paul

Yungblut, John R.

Z

Zeidler, Frank P.

This list is taken from Chris Lawson’s Booklet, A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists)

Beware! Get to the Heart of “Soul Care”!

By L. Putnam

If you want to get to the heart of soul care you must get to its roots, and you must actually look into these teachers and all of their colleagues, and associates; all of their quotes and notes; and all of their writings.  You must intentionally become a “Soul Care Berean!”  Yes, you must ask: Are these things really so?  Are these things Biblical, man-centered, or even downright pagan?

Soul Care Synopsis:

But before going any further a very good place to begin your soul care research would be with this Lighthouse Trails Ministries article:  “Soul Care: New Term, Same Ol’ Contemplative Thing.”  Here you can find the answer to “soul care from where?”  Here you can read a definition of what soul care entails; and that it’s connected to “spiritual formation, spiritual direction and directors.”  Here you can learn more of what’s at the core of “soul care.”  Lastly, you can check out more sites for further information.

Care of the Soul Father: Thomas Moore

In order to get to the heart and soul of “soul care” one must become acquainted with psychotherapist Thomas Moore, author of the national bestseller Care of the Soul (1992) which, some say, began a refocus on the soul.  Former monk Moore, archetypal psychologist, mythologist, imagination teacher, theologian, musician, philosopher, author, lecturer, columnist, and advisor himself was mentored by his close friend and Jungian archetypal psychologist James Hillman.  He also an affinity for his colleague New Ager Robert Sardello. Click here to continue reading.

 

David Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself: A Great Book for Your Journey? Not!

LTRP Note: David Benner has been referenced many times on Lighthouse Trails. He is the author of the contemplative promoting book Sacred Companions (foreword by Larry Crabb).


By L. Putnam

Wanda Walborn, Spiritual Formation Director, Instructor at Nyack College, and Teacher for the CMA Women’s Empower Program, touts David G. Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself  as a great book for your spiritual journey.  Sadly, she and many others have missed the red flags beginning with the covers.  In fact, a discerning reader would not even have to open the book to know here is a work that will be filled with deceptive teachings!

Front Cover Flags:

Notice the title:  The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery.  Note verses:  II Timothy 3:1-2 says, “But know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves…”

Notice the foreword writer:  Dom M. Basil Pennington, OCSO.  Note this BP quote:  We Are God’s Dream:  “We do not know how precious we are in ourselves.  As Dame Julian of Norwich, that delightful English mystic declared, we are God’s dream, his homiest home.  We have too little respect for ourselves, too little esteem for our own importance.  God sees things otherwise.”

Back Cover Flags:

Read that Benner is a depth psychologist, a spiritual director, a former professor of Psychology and Spirituality, a retreat leader, an author, and an editor.
Read that Benner is first endorsed by Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Read that Benner is also endorsed by these contemplatives: John Ortberg, Mark R. McMinn, Margaret Guenther, and Gary W. Moon.
Read that Benner is published by “Formatio Books” from IVP Books.

First Page Flag:

Here’s a Thomas Merton epigraph.  Think: Merton is much admired by Benner.  For Benner has said, “I started reading Thomas Merton in my twenties and to this day he remains my favorite Christian mystic …  I felt drawn to the journey he described but wasn’t ready to personally make it my own for many years.” Click here to continue reading.

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!]

The Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books – A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List” and 25 Christian “Bridgers” to Them

LTRP Note: Ray Yungen and the editors at Lighthouse Trails have put together our Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books  – A “Not Recommended Reading List.” If your pastor, your professor, your children, or your friends are reading any of these books, then they are being led down a path that will take them toward a mystical, panentheistic spirituality where only deception  lies in wait. And keep in mind, if they are reading other books that are pointing to the books and authors below, this may ultimately have the same results.

Take this test to see how integrated the pro-contemplative authors below have become in the church: Pick a favorite author or teacher you follow, and ask yourself: “Does this person promote, embrace, or emulate any of the authors below?” (For example: Dallas Willard (a favorite in Christian colleges) promotes and emulates a number of the names below; Beth Moore (the top women’s Bible study teacher) strongly embraces Brennan Manning; Mark Driscoll finds much favor with Richard Foster; Dan Kimball resonates with Henri Nouwen, to name one. In fact, we have put together a list of the top 25 Christian leaders who embrace, emulate, and/or promote the authors named below. We call these 25 leaders “bridgers” because they are bridging the gap between contemplative mysticism (i.e., eastern mysticism) and the church. You can see that list of 25 below our top 50 books. Don’t get us wrong when we name just 25; there are many more than that (including lots of new upstarts), but these 25 are who we would consider the most influential and prolific today.

The Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books – A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List”

1. A World Waiting to Be Born by M. Scott Peck
2. Awakened Heart by Gerald May
3. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
4. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault
5. Centering Prayer by Basil Pennington
6. Chicken Soup for the Soul books by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
7. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
8. Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli
9. Emergence, the Rebirth of the Sacred by David Spangler
10. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
11. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr
12. Finding God by Ken Kaisch
13. God’s Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk Kidd
14. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
15. Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality by Philip St. Romain
16. Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard
17. Naked Spirituality by Brian McLaren
18. Open Heart, Open Mind by Thomas Keating
19. Original Blessing by Matthew Fox
20. Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
21. Reimagining Christianity by Alan Jones
22. Sabbatical Journey by Henri Nouwen
23. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
24. Sacred Way, The by Tony Jones
25. Seeds of Peace by William Shannon
26. Setting the Gospel Free by Brian C. Taylor
27. Silence on Fire by William Shannon
28. Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson
29. Spiritual Classics by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin
30. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
31. Spiritual Friend by Tilden Edwards
32. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism by Carl McColman
33. The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous Monk
34. The Coming of the Cosmic Christe by Matthew Fox
35. The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford
36. The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg
37. The Jesus We Never Knew by Marcus Borg
38. The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
39. The Mission of Mysticism by Richard Kirby
40. The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
41. The Naked Now by Richard Rohr
42. The Other Side of Silence by Morton Kelsey
43. The Papa Prayer: The Prayer You’ve Never Prayed by Larry Crabb
44. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
45. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning
46. The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen
47. The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice by Tony Campolo
48. The Soul at Rest by Tricia Rhodes
49. When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd
50. When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson

Top 25 Christian Leaders Who Embrace, Emulate, and/or Promote Contemplative Mystics

1. Ann Voskamp
2. Anne Lamott
3. Beth Moore
4. Bill Hull
5. Bill Hybels
6. Calvin Miller
7. Dallas Willard
8. Dan Kimball
9. David Benner
10. Donald Miller
11. Doug Pagitt
12. Eugene Peterson
13. J.P. Moreland
14. Jim Wallis
15. John Eldredge
16. Ken Boa
17. Keri Wyatt Kent
18. Leonard Sweet
19. Mark Driscoll
20. Mike Bickle
21. Philip Yancey
22. Rob Bell
23. Robert Webber
24. Shane Claiborne
25. Walter Brueggemann


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