Posts Tagged ‘David Jeremiah’
Erwin McManus, Moody, Liberty, Cedarville, and Biola Help Pave the Emergent/Social Justice/Progressive Future with Barefoot Tribe
Lighthouse Trails has been warning readers for several years about the emergent church. In those warnings, we’ve addressed the spiritual leanings of Erwin McManus.1 We also challenged David Jeremiah because he told his church that he wanted to use McManus’ book The Barbarian Way to help bring about a “major paradigm shift” in his church.2 Well, there’s no question about it, the evangelical church has gone through a major paradigm shift. This week we received some information from a Lighthouse Trails reader about an event called Barefoot Tribe Gathering, which is another example of where emergent leaders are taking the church, in particular young evangelicals, who by the way are being encouraged not to even call themselves evangelicals or Christians anymore. They see themselves on a much higher ground than that. It’s a ground that incorporates all religions, all people, and all beliefs and practices.
This emergent progressive church (which they tried to make us believe was a thing of the past) is the new “Christianity” for millions of young people. Under the disguise of helping the poor, taking care of the environment, and loving everyone (except their critics), is a growing body of people with a New Age/New Spirituality mindset that embraces all spiritual views and believes God exists in everyone. The Cross (or atonement) doesn’t mean the place where Jesus Christ took our place and died for our sins but rather means at-one-ment (that is, we are all one and connected together with a “God” energy that flows through all things and all people). This at-one-ment rejects the idea that God would actually send His Son to a violent death to pay for OUR sins; rather this emergent view of atonement means that Jesus was a good example of someone who laid down His life and we should follow that example. That’s as far as this “new church” will go with the Cross. To say He paid the penalty for our sins is to say that man is sinful and is not God. The new social justice, emergent, progressive “Christianity” cannot do that because it doesn’t believe that.
According to the Barefoot Tribe’s website, Erwin McManus was one of the speakers in the 2014 Barefoot Tribe Gathering (and by the way, the emergent church has made a lot of progress since then with the help of “evangelical” names such as McManus). We also noticed that Palmer Chinchen, who heads up Barefoot Tribe, has been bringing the Barefoot Tribe message to various Christian colleges including Cornerstone University, Biola, Moody, Cedarville, and Liberty. What better place to change the face of Christianity than at the Christian universities. While parents keep their heads in the sand and pay huge dollars to have their children educated at “nice safe Christian colleges,” right under their noses, their kids’ spirituality is being turned upside down, and in many, if not most, cases will never be restored to biblical Christianity. Other colleges Barefoot Tribe has spoken at are:
Lest some think that Barefoot Tribe is simply an outreach to the poor and needy in the world, Palmer Chinchen’s books, including Barefoot Tribe, are packed with quotes by, references to, and inspirations from some of the leading emergent writers today (Sweet, Ortberg, N.T. Wright, Nouwen, Brueggemann, Morgan Cron, Campolo, etc.). Satan has an agenda to deceive the whole world, and most proclaiming Christians and church goers have no idea it is happening right in their own backyards.
The information sent from our reader:
The Barefoot Tribe Gathering 2014 and 2017
“We are on the crest of an epic shift in humanity. This generation views the world as an extended family – increasingly interconnected through technology – and living with a deep moral obligation to care for one another.
The Barefoot Tribe GATHERING will promote conversation, collaboration, and help network a generation of Christ-followers to respond to the plight of desperate people in broken places.”
– Palmer Chinchen is organizer
(1) Bob Goff: author of Love Does – http://bobgoff.com/
(2) Dr. John M. Perkins: https://spu.edu/depts/perkins/john-perkins/
(3) Caitlyn Crosby: Oprah pick for Super Soul 100 list as a “Soul Giver”: http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-100/soul-givers/caitlin-crosby
More on Caitlyn: https://www.thegivingkeys.com/pages/our-founder-caitlin-crosby
(4) Erwin McManus: http://awakengroup.com/?ag_team=erwin-raphael-mcmanus
Barefoot Tribe: http://www.palmerchinchen.com/barefoot-tribe
For many years now, Lighthouse Trails has been trying to warn the body of Christ about the book that first introduced contemplative spirituality into the evangelical/Protestant church. That book, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, was released in 1978, and in that first edition, Foster said, “we should all without shame enroll in the school of contemplative prayer.” Since then, and largely because of the influence of that book, contemplative spirituality has saturated the church in no small way, and many Christians have truly “enroll[ed] in the school of contemplative prayer.” Through our research, we have determined that over 90% of the Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities (the places our future pastors are trained at) have, to one degree or another, accepted Richard Foster’s spirituality via their Spiritual Formation programs (which always use textbooks either by Foster or ones that point to him). What’s more, from years of research and correspondence from believers, we estimate that a copy of Celebration of Discipline sits on the bookshelves of the majority of Christian pastors and leaders today.
While we have dedicated ourselves day and night for 15 years to bringing this issue to the table of present-day Christianity, hoping to see Christian leaders at least acknowledge that there is an issue here, our message has, for the most part, been rejected or simply ignored by the evangelical leadership. And yet, one of the most prominent, well-known, and respected evangelical leaders has himself put into print that Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline promotes New Age practices. Here are Jeremiah’s own words from his book, The New Spirituality in the chapter titled “New Age Influence in the Church” (subtitled: In this lesson we see how the New Age movement is changing the church):
Sometimes false doctrine—and in the case of this present study, New Age ideology—gets into the church from within, and sometimes from without the body. Once it infects the church it can spread like an infection. . . .
Dr. Norman Geisler, Christian apologist, was attending one of the most respected, and largest Baptist churches in the country. He was astounded to hear the huge choir singing a song whose lyrics included: “I [meaning God] am the grass you walk in, I am the air you breathe, I am the water you swim in.” That is pure pantheism. God is not the grass, nor the air, nor the water. Those are all elements He created, and He is totally distinct from them. It is shocking that someone in the leadership either didn’t have the discernment to recognize what the lyrics were saying, was too busy with musical things to notice. But that’s how New Age influence enters the church—when no one is watching.
Dr. Geisler has also made some notes on the contents of one of the best-selling Christian books of our day, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. Geisler noted some 15 different places in the book where New Age and Eastern practices were recommended for Christians—thing such as Transcendental Meditation, turning from “manyness” to “oneness,” meditating on the void (nothing), and others. (The New Spirituality, David Jeremiah, Turning Point, 2002, pp. 106-107; emphasis added)
David Jeremiah acknowledges that once New Age ideology “infects the church it can spread like an infection.” And surely, we have seen this take place.
Two things are sad and confusing: First, Christian leaders must not share David Jeremiah’s concerns about Celebration of Discipline because 14 years after Jeremiah stated wrote this, Foster’s influence has only escalated within the church and Christian colleges. Second, and this we find most confusing, one year after The New Spirituality was published, Jeremiah’s book Life Wide Open was released. In that book, as we have written about in the past on a number of occasions, Jeremiah says there are a handful of people who have learned the secret to living a passionate life (for God), and then he proceeds to name a number of these people which include New Age sympathizers, a Buddhist sympathizer who converted to Catholicism, ecumenist and contemplative advocate Rick Warren, and a Catholic contemplative mystic. You can read about this in our article “David Jeremiah’s Book Life Wide Open – Still Sold on His Website – Still Includes New Agers.”
While we cannot understand how David Jeremiah could favorably point to those with New Age persuasions shortly after warning about the New Age in The New Spirituality, nevertheless, a major player in today’s Christian church warned about Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and the practices that book endorses.
Perhaps not too many pastors and leaders read David Jeremiah’s book, The New Spirituality. Perhaps they have no idea what David Jeremiah (and Norm Geisler) think about Richard Foster’s book. If you have a pastor, and you think he might have a copy of Celebration of Discipline in his pastor’s library, you might consider printing this article and giving him a copy. Tell him, this time it isn’t Lighthouse Trails saying it but rather is a leader whom they most likely respect saying it.
Letter to the Editor: Took Concerns About A.D. T.V. Series to Pastor – He Says “Result Will Be Good” – David Jeremiah Part of the Problem
To Lighthouse Trails:
I took my concerns to one of my pastors at my church regarding the bible A.D. Series. I was given Philippians 1: 15-18 that as long as the Gis preached or the Bible story being told, the result will be good. No matter who they are or what their motives are.
What are your thoughts on this?
The thing that needs to be pointed out to those with such reasoning is that because of the spiritual persuasions of the producers of such films (in this case, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett), wouldn’t it make sense that “the Gospel” message could be altered, and in fact, a different gospel could be presented? Yes, it’s true that the Bible is the focal point in the series, but the Bible itself warns that those coming as if in the faith will present “another gospel” and another Jesus.”
It’s also hardly comforting to know that David Jeremiah is turning out to be a major spokesperson, adviser, and promoter of the A.D. series when he himself has shown little or no discernment regarding spiritual deception during the past decade. With his widely promoted book, Life Wide Open, in which Jeremiah says that people like Rick Warren, Brother Lawrence, Buddhist sympathizer and Catholic convert Peter Kreeft, and goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd are a handful of people who have found the secret to a passionate life, we don’t see his involvement as some kind of assurance that the series is going to be biblically sound. How interesting that a New Age sympathizing producer (Downey) picks a New Age-promoting evangelical to help promote and create the series. But then as the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. It’s just too bad that multitudes of pastors (like the one described in the letter above) are going to fall into step with Jeremiah and Downey, having completely ignored what Scripture says about spiritual deception and a great falling away.
American Christians seem desperate for everything but the Bible. They’ve got to have the most popular “Bible teachers” (e.g. Rick Warren and Beth Moore); the most exciting and sensually appealing books (e.g. Jesus Calling and The Shack); a wide assortment of exciting, sensual, wordly music; the most mystically drawing teachers (e.g. Richard Foster and Brennan Manning) and mystically oriented practices (e.g. lectio divina and contemplative prayer); and they’ve got to have the most thrilling and captivating movies about God (e.g. The Passion of the Christ and Son of God). The fact is, reading and studying the Bible itself has become too boring and blasé for most Christians today. And the pastors and leaders keep feeding this unsatiable hunger for sensual foods because the truth is, they want to to be filled with them too.
Letter to the Editor: David Jeremiah Brings Roma Downey and Mark Burnett to Shadow Mountain Community Church
A Lighthouse Trails reader who is on David Jeremiah’s mailing list received the following e-mail notice from David Jeremiah. The appearance took place earlier this month. Please read our new Booklet Tract/article by Gregory Reid, “Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs.”
|You’re Invited: Thursday, March 12, at 3:00 p.m.|
|Dear ______,You’re invited to be part of a live studio audience as I interview the producers of The Bible and A.D., Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, on stage in the main sanctuary at Shadow Mountain Community Church this Thursday, March 12, at 3:00 p.m.
On Easter Sunday, Turning Point Television will begin airing our new series, A.D. The Revolution That Changed the World. This teaching series is the “Scripture behind the story” of the dramatic NBC television event, A.D. The Bible Continues.
We are privileged that producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey asked us to partner with them in telling the story of the early church through the characters found in the Book of Acts.
I pray you’ll join me for this live taping with Mark and Roma as we discuss the role of Christians in Hollywood and how God is using biblically based programming on primetime television to reach the world for Christ.
Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and the taping is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. This interview will be aired on Turning Point Television and used online and in social media to promote the message of this groundbreaking series.
See you this Thursday!
Shadow Mountain Community Church
Two Opposite Letters to the Editor About David Jeremiah: 1 Concerned about Recent Broadcast, 1 Upset with LT
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
You may already be aware of this, but going into work this morning (5 Jan) I tuned into David Jeremiah’s Turning Point radio broadcast titled “Living a Life Wide Open.” In the broadcast Jeremiah lists biblical characters whom he describes as having a passion for God or being “on fire” for God. One of these characters he listed was Moses, which sounds right except he based it on the events of Numbers 20. Numbers 20:1-12 gives the account of God providing water to the children of Israel in the wilderness. Gold told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come forth, but Moses, angry at the Israelites because of their complaining, struck the rock twice. God went ahead and gave the water, but because of Moses disobedience he was not allowed to enter the Promise Land. As a matter of fact the Bible specifically tells us Moses’ action was rebellion against God’s commandment (Numbers 27:14). Just to make sure I didn’t misunderstand what Jeremiah said I listened again to a repeat of the broadcast in the evening. I scratch my head wondering how a prominent Bible teacher, preacher, and author could make such a mistake!
In another portion of the broadcast, he favorably mentioned Erwin McManus giving “insight” into one his books. Basically in the book mentioned McManus criticizes some of the old hymns such as “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” which (according to McManus) encourages believers to be passive (leaning on God I guess?) instead of passionate. I don’t know if this was a recent sermon Jeremiah preached or a re-broadcast of an older one.
To Lighthouse Trails:
Praying for you to be able to understand God’s Word with true understanding. That Satan will leave the person, who is trying to discredit the work being done in El Cajon, California. Really blatant remarks being made. Dr. Jeremiah preaches the Word according to the Bible. No nonsense, but True Scripture from God. El Cajon being located in the most populous state in the Union and David Jeremiah choosing to be among the people bringing the Gospel and trying to meet the people’s needs. Being obedient to God in spreading the Gospel. He uses his time raising up rather than tearing down. Satan interacts through his demons here on earth. We pray that you walk in God’s light rather in the darkness of Satan’s work. [LT Note: We have removed some derogatory remarks from this letter about Lighthouse Trails that are unbeneficial, untrue, and have nothing to do with the subject matter.]
All I am asking is that you focus on God’s Word and not on God’s true servants, who are being obedient by reaching millions of we sinners each week, through his obedience to God. I will say no more. Please make each of your days count for God and not for Satan’s condemnation of others.
Our Comments: First, we would like to reiterate previous statements we have made regarding the articles at Lighthouse Trails. We are not attempting to destroy the reputations of those we critique. However, as we watch the complete silence by Christian leaders in matters pertaining to the preservation of the Gospel message, we remain compelled to challenge them and beseech them to stand for truth and against apostasy no matter the cost.
Coincidentally, Lighthouse Trails received both of the letters above just a couple days apart. The second letter is an example of someone who is devoted to David Jeremiah but who has not gathered all the facts before making his assessment. The sermon that is referenced in the first letter pertains to David Jeremiah’s book Life Wide Open,which was published several years ago but still in circulation today and as one can see from the recent broadcast, still inspiring Jeremiah today. Lighthouse Trails wrote a review of Life Wide Open a number of years ago. Below we are re-posting a portion of our original review of the book because it is still a relevant issue and is a case in point of another Christian leader who is not speaking out against spiritual deception, including his own. While the broadcast mentioned above is from an earlier date, the present-day introduction by Jeremiah shows that he still approves of his book and his ideas on a “passionate” life.
Sadly, as he did in Life Wide Open, you will hear Jeremiah speaking in this broadcast in a demeaning matter about hymns, much differently than he did in his 90s book Invasion of Other Gods, where he commendably gave a strong warning about the New Age and spoke lovingly of hymns. In Life Wide Open, he stated: “Unfortunately, we often encourage comfort zones in the church.” He then quoted contemplative Calvin Miller as saying, “I was struck one day by all the hymns that center on faith as a protective refuge.” Examples he gave included “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Haven of Rest.” Jeremiah said that such songs were “comfort music for weak-kneed saints” (pp. 164-165). We are wondering what invaded David Jeremiah’s thoughts to change them regarding hymns over the course of a decade. And how is it that he condemned the New Age in the 90s but in Life Wide Open (ten years ago) admired them, and today, still resonates with that book?
From our original review:
David Jeremiah’s 2003/2005 book, Life Wide Open, has a subtitle of “Unleashing the Power of a Passionate Life.” In the introduction of the book, Jeremiah tells readers that “A Small handful among us have discovered what the rest of us would pay dearly to know: How can we bring real, living excitement into this life?” Jeremiah goes on to tell readers that “This book is a map to the life of passion and purpose, the life wide open…” (p. xii) Who are these small handful of people who have discovered the secret? Well according to Jeremiah’s book, his list includes Rick Warren, contemplative, feminine spiritualist Sue Monk Kidd (When the Heart Waits), contemplative Calvin Miller (Into the Depths of God), Buddhist sympathizer Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline), emerging church leader Erwin McManus, contemplative Michael Card, and Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God).
When one ponders the spirituality of some of these names, it is disheartening to see that David Jeremiah continues promoting his book rather than having it pulled from the market. What would cause him to do that? Well, either he is not pulling the book because he does not see anything wrong with Sue Monk Kidd, Rick Warren, Peter Senge, and the others or he knows something is wrong with them but for whatever reasons he has chosen to ignore the fact that his book could potentially mislead many people.
Looking at just one of the names in Life Wide Open (as someone who has found the secret to passion and purpose), Sue Monk Kidd, may put things into perspective. Ray Yungen explains:
A Sunday school co-worker handed Sue Monk Kidd a book by Thomas Merton telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically. What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.
She ultimately came to the mystical realization that: “I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us … When we encounter another person, …we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.” (A Time of Departing p. 134)
Monk Kidd, also author of The Secret Life of Bees (emulating the goddess Madonna), reveals her spirituality when she states in a book endorsement: “In Radical Optimism, Beatrice Bruteau sets forth a deep and shining vision of spirituality, one that guides the reader into the contemplative life and the very root of our being. Dr. Bruteau is a philosopher of great measure whose work should be required reading for all who seek the deepest truth about themselves” (Monk Kidd’s endorsement of Bruteau’s book). For those who are not familiar with Beatrice Bruteau, she is a Catholic panentheistic contemplative.
Monk Kidd’s journey has also led her to say: “We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. . . . Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred. . . . Goddess offers us the holiness of everything” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, pp. 162-163). Few would argue that this does not line up with biblical Christianity nor is it the kind of life of “passion” and” purpose” that Christians should seek after. She also said in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that God can be found in everything, even graffiti and excrement! (p. 160).
In Life Wide Open, it wasn’t The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that Jeremiah quoted from. But the book he did quote from, When the Heart Waits, is also about Monk Kidd’s propensities. In that book, she explains: “There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that’s only God … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us” (as quoted by Ray Yungen in A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134, citing pp. 47-48 of Monk Kidd’s book) .
When the Heart Waits is a primer on contemplative spirituality. Monk Kidd talks about finding her “true self” and explains how mystics like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Merton helped her to find it. She quotes Beatrice Bruteau’s book, Gospel Zen, and Thomas Keating’s book, The Heart of the World. Keating and Bruteau embrace a mystical panentheistic view, without a doubt. She even quotes favorably Alan Jones, author of Reimagining Christianity. Reading a couple quotes by Jones in that book will show the seriousness of this situation:
“The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” (p. 132)
“The other thread of just criticism addresses the suggestion implicit in the cross that Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry god. Penal substitution [the Cross] was the name of this vile doctrine.” (p. 168)
And even though the book by Sue Monk Kidd is in Life Wide Open, David Jeremiah’s book is still promoted throughout mainstream book venues.
In 2006, a year after the second edition of Life Wide Open came out, Jeremiah said he wanted to use a book by emerging leader Erwin McManus to help bring a “major paradigm shift” to his church. The book Jeremiah wanted to use was The Barbarian Way, a book that McManus admits had at its core “mysticism.” Considering that David Jeremiah chose Sue Monk Kidd as part of a road map to spirituality,is is any wonder that he also chose Erwin McManus who once said:
My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ,” McManus, author of a new book called “The Barbarian Way,” said in a telephone interview.
“Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” Erwin McManus
Isn’t it time for Christian pastors and leaders to step up to the plate of humility, sorrow, and repentance? For the sake of the sheep. (END OF REVIEW)
Ravi Zacharias on Henri Nouwen – “I regret having said that” “Henri Nouwen Was One of the Greatest Saints In Our Time”
It is not often that Lighthouse Trails can report on a major Christian leader actually renouncing earlier endorsements of the contemplative mystics. Rick Warren, Beth Moore, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, and many others have written books that have promoted contemplative teachers, and Lighthouse Trails has documented many of these situations. And in every case, even though each of these leaders learned about our challenge, none of them has ever come forth and admitted they were wrong. But in a 2012 online interview by an independent blog, Ravi Zacharias was asked the following question:
If in your book, you wrote how Eastern mysticism is completely erroneous, why did you state in one of your speaking engagements that Henri Nouwen was one of the greatest saints who lived in our time, when Nouwen is known to have been influenced by Thomas Merton and others who practice Eastern mysticism?
I regret having said that. At the time, I based my comment on Nouwen’s story of the prodigal son which I felt was on target. But later as I learned more about Nouwen and Merton, I found their writings to be very troubling. I believe that doctrinally, Nouwen lost his way. I used to read Malcolm Muggeridge too until I read his book, “Jesus Rediscovered”. Muggeridge was morally and culturally a good thinker, but he was not theologically sound.
Ravi Zacharias International Ministry website is carrying numerous articles which speak favorably of Catholic mystic Henri Nouwen, Catholic monk and mystic, Thomas Merton, and contemplative Richard Foster.
In 2007, Lighthouse Trails was still in the stages of learning that contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) was being endorsed by nearly every Christian leader and most of the Christian colleges. Thus, Zacharias was added to a long growing list.
A short time after writing that piece on Zacharias, a unique opportunity arose. One afternoon, a Lighthouse Trails reader from Southern California whom we had come to know through phone conversations contacted us and said she and her husband had been invited to a dinner party (the reader’s husband is a physician), and Ravi Zacharias was going to be there. Our reader said she was very troubled that Zacharias would promote Nouwen and Merton, and she would like to speak with him if the occasion offered itself at the dinner party. Because Zacharias was born in India and because our reader happened to have a copy of Caryl Matrisciana’s book Out of India, it seemed to be an opportunity from God. Once at the dinner party, our reader was not sure she would get a chance to give the book to Zacharias as he was involved with conversations with several people throughout the evening. But toward the end of the night, a moment came when she was able to approach Zacharias. She told him she was concerned about his endorsements of Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, and she handed him the book and asked if he would read it. He said that he happened to be heading out on a long flight and that he would read the book.
We can’t know for sure that Zacharias read Out of India. But if he did, he would have learned that the contemplative prayer movement is rooted in Hinduism and the New Age movement and that Nouwen and Merton are part of that movement. But either way, it appears that Ravi Zacharias has changed his mind about Henri Nouwen and has been willing to acknowledge that publicly, something we have yet to see in other Christian leaders.
We must note that there are still numerous articles on Zacharias’ website promoting Henri Nouwen, such as one written by Jill Carattini, the managing editor of Zacharias’ online publication A Slice of Infinity. That article is titled “I Am Absent.” It is interesting that just a few months after Zacharias made a public statement renouncing Nouwen, Carattini wrote an article for his website promoting Nouwen. Perhaps the two never discussed Zacharias’ changed opinion about Nouwen. Other articles on Zacharias’ website where Nouwen is favorably included are: “Flickering Minds” (2013-Carattini), “As Sure as the Sun” (2013, Carattini), “Free Lunch Economy” (2011, Carattini), “Culture of Absence” (2011, Carattini), “Waiting for Spring” (2011, Carattini), “Of Parables and Paradigms” (2010, Danielle DuRant), “September 11, 2001: Was God Present or Absent?” (2002, Zacharias), and “Lessons From War in a Battle of Ideas” (2000, Zacharias).
While it may seem picky to some that we are listing all these instances on Zacharias’ website, we believe it is important. According to Zacharias’ 2012 interview, he has come to understand the dangers of Henri Nouwen’s teachings. Yet readers at his site probably will never see that interview but they could very easily come across these articles giving Nouwen a pass.
We hold out hope that when Zacharias learns of these articles (and comes to understand the problem with having them on his site), he will have them removed (or edited) so as not to be responsible any longer for pointing people to a mystic who believed all paths lead to God and who talked about listening to cassette tapes on the chakras. We also hope that both he and his managing editor, Jill Carattini, will read A Time of Departing and come to understand that the contemplative prayer movement is dangerous and has become fully engaged with the evangelical church. Ray Yungen lays out the implications well:
If this mystical paradigm shift comes to complete fruition, what will the Christian of the future be like? If Christians develop into the spiritual likeness of Henri Nouwen, we will find them meditating with Buddhists as Nouwen did—which he called “dialogue of the heart.”1 We will also find them listening to tapes on the seven chakras 2 (which Reiki is based on) as Nouwen did, and above all we will find them wanting to help people “claim his or her own way to God”3 (universalism) as Nouwen did. Nouwen wrote that his solitude and the solitude of his Buddhist friends would “greet each other and support each other.”4 In this one statement lies the fundamental flaw of the contemplative prayer movement—spiritual adultery.5
1. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey ( (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1998), p.20. Note: Sabbatical Journey is the last book Nouwen wrote. It shows the effect that years of practicing mysticism had on Nouwen.
2. Ibid., p. 20.
3. Ibid., p. 51.
4. Ibid., p. 20.
5. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed, 2006), p. 183.
“[W]e made the strategic decision to stop singing hymns in our seeker services.” Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p. 285
It is interesting (and sad) to watch the growing trend among those who promote contemplative and/or emerging and those in the seeker-friendly movement to teach their followers that hymns are outdated, irrelevant, and un-useful.
In light of the fact that many of the traditional hymns were birthed out of suffering and hardship, the rejection of them is even more difficult to embrace. However, in the atmosphere of today’s “Christianity,” it is not more difficult to understand. Much of this modern-day Christianity has made a direct bee line for Catholicism, ignoring the very fact that our past brothers and sisters were martyred in their attempts to leave the institution and its rituals behind. We live today in such a spiritual environment where so many are able to run back to the very thing that others died to leave; thus it is not hard to understand why so many are rejecting the hymns of those who suffered for their defense of the faith.
In his first book, Purpose Driven Church, Warren devotes several pages to convincing readers that hymns are outdated and need to go. David Jeremiah, in his book Life Wide Open, said: “Unfortunately, we often encourage comfort zones in the church. He then quotes contemplative Calvin Miller, who said: “I was struck one day by all the hymns that center on faith as a protective refuge.” Examples he gave included “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Haven of Rest.” Jeremiah said that such songs were “comfort music for weak-kneed saints” (pp. 164-165). Is it possible that many of today’s Christian leaders have become so alienated from the very idea of suffering for the defense of the faith, that the notion of singing songs “that center on faith as a protective refuge” is ridiculous to them? And could it be that Christians today are being trained, not to stand for truth, but rather to bend with and mimic our culture?
A Mighty Fortress
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.