Posts Tagged ‘David Jeremiah’
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 ofReimagining 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.
Sue Monk Kidd is a popular author, whose books are read by many Christians and used in many Sunday School studies. Her books are carried in countless Christian bookstores, and surprisingly are endorsed by and quoted from the most unlikely Christian leaders. Ray Yungen talks about Monk Kidd in A Time of Departing:
[Sue] Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book, When the Heart Waits. 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. . . .
How did a Baptist Sunday school teacher come to believe that divinity is within all? [A]Sunday school co-worker handed her [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, 2nd ed., p. 134-135
Dance of the Dissident Daughter, published six years after When the Heart Waits, shows clearly Monk Kidd’s transition into goddess and panentheist spirituality, going so far as to say that God can be found even in excrement. In speaking about mysticism, she states:
As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess…. Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it’s known as samadhi…. Transcendence and immanence are not separate. The Divine is one. The dancer and all the dances are one. . . . The day of my awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God, and God in all things (pp. 161-163, Dance of the Dissident Daughter).
Perhaps what is so disturbing about this is the favorable quoting and endorsement of Monk Kidd’s writings. For instance, Eugene Peterson (author of The Message) writes an endorsement on the back cover of When the Heart Waits, saying: “As I read her book, Sue Monk Kidd became a companion to me. I love having her walk with me on my journey.” Since Peterson is also on the back cover of Richard Foster’s contemplative book, Prayer Finding the Heart’s True Home and Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel, his endorsement of Sue Monk Kidd probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. But then there is David Jermiah, who in his book, Life Wide Open, favorably quotes from Sue Monk Kidd’s book, When the Heart Waits. While this was brought out publicly several years ago, Jeremiah still has made no public statement about his quoting Sue Monk Kidd and about her beliefs. But that might be because he also quoted from other contemplatives and New Age sympathizers in his book (see list below), and to reject his quoting of Monk Kidd would mean he would have to reject many other comments in the book, thus negating the credibility of the book all together.
Monk Kidd’s work has been endorsed by other unlikely names. Moody Monthly, of her book God’s Joyful Surprise, said, “… [Kidd] suggests some disciplines for cultivating an ‘interior quietness’ … Her writing, well-balanced by the wisdom of writers like Brother Lawrence, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri Nouwen, is alive with humorous anecdotes.” Of the same book, Today’s Christian Woman says “the message and challenge of the book is profound.” In God’s Joyful Surprise, Monk Kidd discusses her admiration for Thomas Merton and his teachings on prayer.
Life Wide Open by David Jeremiah – Those he favorably quotes in the book:
Sue Monk Kidd
We left a moderate Baptist Church in Raleigh because of the emergent teaching. Thank the Lord, a number of families left because once we connected the dots, we left. We were all rather shaken that this extreme theology could be right under our noses and we didn’t recognize it. When I went for counseling to a very conservative pastor in the area, I was told that because we were in a moderate church, that type of heresy could easily be there.
So, we (my husband and I) found a conservative church with their statement of faith reflecting the 5 fundamentals of the faith. We thought we were safe, but we still met with the pastor and his wife to be on the safe side. We discussed our previous experience, gave the minister books and materials from your website, and we were assured he would not tolerate emergent.
An assistant pastor, with the approval of the senior pastor, showed Jeff Bethke’s film and he quoted Pierre de Chardin (what is a Baptist pastor quoting him!). I just assumed he was ignorant and perhaps he was. But I documented the dangers of these two people and gave it to him. No follow-up desired. At this point, I’d be flipping out if I was a pastor reading this information. But, no response to me. Then, a Sunday school teacher was allowed to introduce Bill Hybels and his teaching. Then 1,000 Gifts [by Ann Voskamp] is allowed to be taught to the women. I documented in detail the dangers, the leaven, being brought into the church. I left it with the pastor and his wife. Again, at this point, after reading these articles, I’d be flipping out wanting to know, “What on earth!”
Then a familiar call comes to our home (remember, this is our second church dealing with this) from the pastor basically telling me to stop it. Asking the pastor if he had a problem with 1,000 Gifts, he said 90% was solid and 10% questionable. I replied that since when do we as Christians put percentages on allowable heresy. I said, “I don’t mind if this book is taught as long as you also use this as a teaching time to warn about emergent and panentheism and all of its authors she references.” Deaf ears. Then I find out the Bible study leader for the women loves Jesus Calling and 1,000 Gifts. Where is the discernment? The pastors are not guarding their flock. We are sick at heart. This pastor said he reviewed Lighthouse Trails and had problems with you all.
So, we leave. Go to another very conservative church and the pastor from the pulpit encourages everyone to attend the David Jeremiah meeting here and references in a positive way Blackaby’s writings. I know this dear man of God is clueless, well, I hope so (meaning he is not doing this because he wants to promote emergent).
Thank you for all of your documented research and as Frances Schaefer warns, loving the way you treat your subject matter. Sincerely, ________
PS: Just finished reading The Great Evangelical Disaster by Frances Schaeffer. How amazing accurate to 2012.
Lighthouse Trails received an e-mail this past weekend informing us that David Jeremiah (pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church) invited major contemplative writer, John Ortberg, to his church’s Summer Bible Conference this past Sunday evening.
To Lighthouse Trails:
Below is an excerpt from Dr Jeremiah’s weekly email, speaking about the Sunday evening guest speaker and that speaker’s passion about “spiritual formation.”
At 6:00 pm on Sunday evening, John Ortberg will be our guest speaker for our Summer Bible Conference. John is passionate about “spiritual formation,” which is how people become more like Jesus. His teaching brings Scripture alive and invariably includes practical applications and warm humor. John is the author of many books, including “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat,” and “The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Growth for Ordinary People,” and his latest book, “The Me I Want To Be.” John is Senior Pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a 4,000-member church in Northern California with campuses in Menlo Park, Mountain View, and San Mateo.
As you can see from this brochure, http://www.shadowmountain.org/Content/HtmlImages/Public/Documents/General/SummerBibleConference/SBC_2012.pdf, it is true that John Ortberg spoke at Shadow Mountain Community Church on August 19th. John Ortberg has been a major contemplative advocate for many years. It was he and Ruth Haley Barton (trained at Shalem Institute) who put together the spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) curriculum for Willow Creek a number of years ago. What’s more, in a book that Barton and Ortberg co-authored, An Ordinary Day with Jesus, they tell readers to practice lectio divina (what they describe as a slow meditative practice) and to repeat a word in a mantra-like fashion. They also include panentheist Tilden Edwards (along with other contemplatives) in their additional resources section of that book. It was Edwards who stated that contemplative prayer is the bridge that unites Christianity with “Far Eastern spirituality” (Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18). Edwards co-founded the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. Just to illustrate to you the nature of Tilden Edwards and Shalem’s spirituality, New Age teacher Eckhart Tolle will be a speaker at a Shalem event this coming October.
John Ortberg is listed in the Lighthouse Trails Top 100 Contemplative Proponents list and for good reasons. Another case in point, in Ortberg’s book, God is Closer Than You Think, Ortberg quotes favorably from contemplatives such as Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence, interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (Divine Center in all), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart as well as Thomas Merton. He also quotes contemplative Dallas Willard.
In his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted (see book review), Ortberg quotes favorably the following contemplative/mysticism advocates:
In Ortberg’s more recent book, The Me I Want to Be, he maintains his propensity toward the contemplative by favorably quoting Henri Nouwen and Catholic priest Richard Rohr. Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation and has done much to propel contemplative spirituality. Here is an excerpt from Rohr’s website, just to give you an example of the spirituality that Rohr embraces:
In this exciting, extended weekend conference, spiritual masters Thomas Keating, OSCO, and Richard Rohr, OFM, put together in specific and practical ways the ancient, perennial, and Christian tradition of “now” teaching.
Each in their gifted style help listeners connect the dots between Scripture, the desert Mystics, the Benedictine and Franciscan traditions, the Buddhist masters, and other contemporary teachers.1
The fact that Ortberg has included Rohr in a 2009 book shows that he is going deeper and deeper into the contemplative mindset.
This isn’t the first time that John Ortberg has been a speaker at Shadow Mountain. He spoke there in 2009, for one. And on the Shadow Mountain Small Groups resources page, Ortberg is on the list of recommended reading. By the way, contemplatives Gary Thomas (who says to repeat a word for 20 minutes in his book, Sacred Pathways), Pete Scazzero (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality), Philip Yancey, and Brian McLaren-advocate Dan Allender are also on that list.
Lighthouse Trails has been challenging David Jeremiah because of his burgeoning affinity toward the contemplative for some time. We first brought this out in our critique of his book Life Wide Open where he references and quotes favorably a number of mystical writers including goddess worshipper, Sue Monk Kidd and Buddhist sympathizer Peter Kreeft. Life Wide Open continues on the market (and on Jeremiah’s website in study guide and CD format), even though Jeremiah was given information about the serious problems with his book. To date, we know of no public statement by Jeremiah recanting the information in that book or of having it removed from the market (the publisher is Thomas Nelson).
To add to this dilemna, in David Jeremiah’s book, Captured by Grace, he discusses (in a positive manner) Henri Nouwen and includes an endorsement by New Age meditation advocate Ken Blanchard (who wrote the foreword to What Would Buddha Do at Work?). We find Jeremiah’s reference to Nouwen troubling, especially in view of Jeremiah’s 1995 book, Invasion of Other Gods, where he wrote about the dangers of New Age meditation and actually exposes the chakras, something that Henri Nouwen was drawn to (see Sabbatical Journey, p. 20)! Six years ago, Lighthouse Trails wrote “David Jeremiah Proposes ‘Major Paradigm Shift’ For His Church” with concerns about Jeremiah’s draw toward Erwin McManus.
Skeptics may say, “so, what’s the big deal if David Jeremiah invites contemplatives to his church and frequently quotes and references contemplative authors?” When you consider the spiritual disaster taking place because of contemplative spirituality’s panentheistic, interspiritual roots (a charge adequately backed up in our book, A Time to Departing) (especially considering how popular Christian leaders are promoting it) , it simply cannot be ignored. And the fact that Jeremiah and other leaders go virtually unchallenged or unquestioned indicates that most evangelical Christians have no clue about the ramifications of contemplative spirituality. The names of the individuals we have made reference to throughout this article are part of a movement. And this movement, as we have proven for over a decade, is anti-Christian, anti-gospel, and anti-Christ, which can be summed up in Tilden Edward’s observation that contemplative spirituality is the bridge between Christianity and far eastern spirituality. A Christian is suppose to carry the Gospel to those practicing far eastern spirituality, not build spiritual bridges through the common denominator of mysticism. Edwards absorbed Buddhist mystical perceptions and actually taught classes on it. Christians who value the Gospel should take a close look at what is behind that which is being promoted in our pulpits today. John Ortberg is advocating something that has never been a part of biblical Christianity but instead springs from the tradition of the Desert Fathers and not from the Bible.