Posts Tagged ‘John Piper’

Letter to the Editor: ConvergePacWest Using Contemplative Books and Authors to “Grow Spiritually”

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

After reading Seduction of Christianity by Dave Hunt years ago, I have watched the insidious encroachment of mysticism into the evangelical Christian church.  When I discovered you several years ago, I used some of your resources to help inform the small part of the flick that I have contact with.

There is a church in our city that changed affiliation several years ago from Baptist General Conference to ConvergePacWest.   The name alone made me suspicious, so I researched it and, sure enough, if you click on to “Grow Spiritually,” then “Resources,” they have a list of books for “Personal Spiritual Formation” that includes Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and John Ortberg.

Since I hadn’t seen any reference to ConvergePacWest on your website, just thought I would mention it.

Your Friend in Christ,


LTRP Note: ConvergePacWest is also recommending books by contemplative proponents Philip Yancey, John Piper, and Tim Keller and lists Discipleship Journal under their “Grow Spiritually” resource list (although that link is broken). Discipleship Journal, is a publication put out by NavPress that uses a wide array of New Spirituality authors such as Ruth Haley Barton and has regularly promoted contemplative spirituality and the emerging church.

2014 LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS YEAR IN REVIEW—Part 2: Top Articles by Like-Minded Ministries

Newly Elected Southern Baptist Convention Mission Board President, David Platt, Says “Sinner’s Prayer” Unscriptural and Superstitious

Editor’s Note: We know some people are going to be upset with our article about David Platt. Please understand that there is more here than meets the eye. This issue goes far beyond the scope of this article. There is a lot more at stake here than rejecting a “sinner’s prayer.”

Editors at Lighthouse Trails

On August 27th, the Southern Baptist Convention elected  Reformed author and pastor David Platt as the organization’s new president of the SBC International Mission Board. Platt is the author of several books including Radical (a New York Times bestseller) and in his books and sermons puts an emphasis on “community,” relationship, and  “discipleship” over having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, Platt takes his “theology” so far as to say that the sinner’s prayer (based on Romans 10:9-10*) and “inviting Jesus into your heart” is superstitious and unbiblical (see video clip below).

Platt’s de-emphasis on having a personal, one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ and his emphasis on community, relationships, groups, disciples, leadership, etc. is a mixture of the “new” Christianity, emerging spirituality, and a works-based belief system. Southern Baptist Convention has been making some big slips into apostasy for a long time through its embracing of the Purpose Driven Life, contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation), and so forth, but electing Platt may be one of the more blatant things they have done to date. Platt says that the traditional way of presenting the Gospel is “damning.” And yet a brief look at the “sinner’s prayer” shows a very clear Gospel message. The sinner’s prayer is a way to take an unsaved person through Scripture to show that he or she is a sinner in need of salvation, which can happen only through repenting (changing direction and turning toward God), believing on Jesus Christ, and accepting Him as Lord and Savior. However, the multitude of leaders that have risen to the top of the evangelical church through big marketing plans of their publishers and a Christian media world that advertises and exalts them to a high stature are convincing millions that the pure simple Gospel is not enough—they need better and more complex ways to find the Lord and eternal life. With Rick Warren, it has to be purpose-driven; with Beth Moore and Richard Foster, it has to be through contemplative stillness; and now with David Platt, it has to be through “discipleship” (as well as spending time in global missions because anything less, such as local missions, is insignificant). Too bad if you are only six years old, want to receive the Lord into your heart because you realize you are a sinner in need of a Savior but you can’t even read yet. According to Platt’s plan of “salvation,” you’ll have to wait until you are old enough to get some “proper” discipleship that is presented by manipulating leaders who teach that coming to Christ is anything but simple.

We appreciate Canadian songwriter and singer Trevor Baker, who challenges teachers like Platt who suggest that the Gospel is much more complicated than acknowledging you are a wretched sinner and need to ask Jesus Christ to live inside your heart, surrendering your life to him. And with this complication comes the need for all these teachers because the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit is not enough to get somebody saved and to disciple him or her. So folks, according to the SBC, all of you and all of your children and grandchildren who asked the Lord into your hearts (whether you were sincere or not) are superstitious and unbiblical. But there’s hope—David Platt, Rick Warren, Beth Moore, Bill Hybels, John Piper, and a slew of other “teachers” will teach you to be disciples—but not of Christ, mind you; rather of them. In other words, even though the Bible says that Christ IN you is the mystery of God (Colossians 1:27), they are suggesting that never mind having Christ in you—you can become Christlike through their “discipleship” methods and good works. Contrary to what they teach, discipleship comes AFTER one has become born again— it’s not a means to salvation.

How interesting that David Platt throws out the simple Gospel message through producing a blanket statement that a sinner’s prayer of repentance is bad; yet he is part of a conference called Verge  (to suggest we are on the “verge” of some great happening) sharing a platform with emerging church leaders such as Alan Hirsch and Francis Chan and focusing on social justice and “missional” (i.e, the “new” emerging missiology); and in March 2014, Platt shared a platform with New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet at the North Carolina Baptist Mission Conference. While Platt throws out the sinner’s prayer and the simplicity of the Gospel, one can only wonder if  his “discipleship” methods will include exposing his disciples to people like Hirsch and Sweet.

When are Christians going to wake up and understand that the multitude of neo-Gospel leaders they are following are leading them through manipulation, brainwashing, and guilt-driven techniques and methods that will not bring their followers to Jesus Christ but rather to “another Jesus” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4), offering them carnal devilish substitutes for the real thing—Jesus Christ! We, as believers, need to wake up to the magnitude of the apostasy that has crept into the church at large!

There is a common phrase within the “new” Christianity—Christ follower. When you study what new Christianity teachers mean by this, you see they are differentiating between “Christ in you” (a relationship with Him) and “following” Jesus (and performing certain disciplines or works to make one more “Christlike”). In actuality, they have made Jesus into a mere model or example who should be followed rather than entering into a personal relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A person who is truly born-again has Jesus Christ indwelling him. Jesus lives inside that person. And it is His life in him or her that gives the power to become progressively more like Him (sanctification), as Paul said in his address to Corinthian Christians: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The believer draws his strength and power from Jesus Christ (who indwells him), and he realizes his salvation and any good thing in him is from Christ; as the Scripture says: “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). In Christianity, the Spirit of Christ indwells us through faith. So Jesus becomes more than a model or example or someone to follow; He is a living presence in us.

The Bible is clear that once someone is saved (born again), he is to be discipled by trustworthy God-honoring, Bible-believing teachers and pastors. But the “Gospel” that Platt, Warren, and so many others are presenting is not the “whosoever” Gospel that invites anyone to come in and sup  and commune with Jesus Christ and become one of His; rather it is a works-driven belief system that draws unaware victims in, then harnesses them to a yoke too great to bear. Jesus said,  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Man Sitting Desperately Under The CrossThe Southern Baptist Convention has done a great disservice to their Baptist members, and no doubt the effect will be felt throughout Christianity in these days when the world desperately needs the simple beautiful life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:9-11)

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

If after reading this article, you are not sure what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, consider watching the movie Sheffey about the itinerant preacher in the 1800s, Robert Sheffey. Here was a man who communed with the Lord, who supped with Him, and who knew Him personally.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.(Revelation 22:17)

*Romans 10:9-10: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”


The Passion of the Presence and the Purpose of the Passion (and Francis Chan and John Piper’s Involvement with IHOP)

 I went to a John Wimber workshop…. He said he sees the next 20 to 30 years as the time when more signs and wonders will be done than ever in history and when the secular media will be overwhelmed and have to report it every day as great revival spreads. John Piper[1]

By Herescope

IHOP In An Era of Celebrity-Driven Christianity 

Evangelical leaders are currently rushing to associate themselves with major youth events that are becoming increasingly popular in the Christian world. These mass youth rallies were developed over the course of several decades by Mike Bickle’s IHOP (International House of Prayer) movement, which is interconnected to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). IHOP and the NAR share both personnel and doctrine, with roots that go back into the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God cult.[4] Previously we have extensively documented the history of the camaraderie of IHOP and NAR.[5]

This rapidly rising youth movement in evangelicaldom is characterized by its emphasis on generating fervent passion. Why are evangelical leaders rushing onto this bandwagon? Why are Francis Chan, John Piper, [both contemplative advocates] . . . and other prominent teachers placing themselves on center stage (literally) of these IHOP-orchestrated mass rallies?[6]

Superficially, one might assume that it is merely for the immediate stardom and pizzazz that comes with such celebrity status in a youth event rocking with fervor, bright lighting, and loud acclamations.[7] . . . But is it conceivable that these leaders also happen to agree with some of the IHOP doctrine? After all, it is impossible to separate the activities at these youth events without encountering the foundational beliefs that give rise to them.

Of course, it can be argued that just because an esteemed evangelical leader shares the stage with adherents and promoters of these IHOP/NAR doctrines doesn’t mean he/she agrees with their teaching. However, it is important to note that an evangelical leader’s very appearance at these events lends legitimacy and credibility to this movement – a movement that has been aggressively attempting to distance itself from its former cult status, remake its image and become respectable.

The doctrine of the IHOP believes that these mass youth stadium rallies are for the “purpose” of invoking the “presence” of God through generated “passion.” These three terms – passion, presence and purpose – are derived from some very strange esoteric doctrines that originated in the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God cult.

“Presence” is popular. Recently Warren Smith published a book in which he made us aware of an increasingly popular belief that Christians can invoke the “presence” of “God” (or “Jesus”) by their contemplative activities. For endnote material and to read this entire article, click here.

Corban University (formerly Western Baptist College), a Former Non-Contemplative College, Teams Up with Mark Driscoll

Corban University of Salem, Oregon used to be called Western Baptist College. It used to be a Christian college that did not promote contemplative spirituality or the emerging church, and it used to be on the Lighthouse Trails “good” Christian colleges list (colleges that don’t promote Spiritual Formation). But that was then, and today is a new day for Corban University.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailLighthouse Trails has watched the slow but steady change at Corban for the last several years, hoping it would not begin to fully engage in the Spiritual Formation movement. But a recent headline about Corban caught the attention of Lighthouse Trails editors who were compelled to respond. The headlines of that article read: “Corban University Signs Unique Partnership Agreement With Mars Hill Church.” In that article, it states:

Starting in the fall of 2014, Corban University of Salem, Ore. and Mars Hill Church will offer a 24-credit Bible certificate at the Mars Hill Bellevue, Wash. location. Classes are slated to begin in the fall of 2014.

The curriculum will include Bible and Theology Foundation, Ministry Skills Foundation, Introduction to Bible, Introduction to Theology, Christian Worldview and Apologetics, Biblical Spiritual Formation, Gospels, Bible Study Methods.

“We are anticipating a great, ongoing relationship with Mars Hill Church, pending approval of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities,” said Corban Provost Matt Lucas.

The article talks about the huge influence that Mars Hill (home to Mark Driscoll)  has with “15 locations in five different states, reaching millions around the world.” Mark Driscoll has been the topic of several LT articles because of his promotion of contemplative spirituality and other emerging beliefs (see our research links and video below documenting Driscoll’s mockery of biblical eschatology related to the last days and the Lord’s return).

Lighthouse Trails first became involved with Corban University (then Western Baptist) in 2002, when it was discovered that a summer youth theater day camp being held at Corban was introducing children attending the camp to visualization techniques. An editor at Lighthouse Trails arranged a meeting with three Corban professors to explain the concerns (it so happened that one of the LT editor’s children was attending that camp). At that time, the concerns by Lighthouse Trails were dismissed by the professors as erroneous. The LT editor took that opportunity to warn Corban professors that if they did not take a pro-active stand against the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church and make sure all of their instructors understood the dangers, in time, the school would become an adherent to these heretical teachings.

Shortly after  A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen was released in the fall of 2002, Corban professor Dr. Robert Wright invited Ray to address his World Religions & Cults class. From that point on, Dr. Wright became a strong advocate for Yungen’s and Lighthouse Trails’ message and had Ray return on several subsequent years. At one point, Dr. Wright wrote an article about the emerging church, which LT carries to this day on the research site. In that article Dr. Wright called Ray Yungen a “competent researcher” of the New Age and mysticism and that “[t]he methods of contemplative prayer are the same as those used in Eastern religion.” Dr. Wright said that some “very popular authors in the evangelical church have latched on to contemplative prayer as a way to go deeper with God.” And then he names Richard Foster and Brennan Manning. Of contemplative prayer, Dr. Wright stated:

[T]he purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Christian proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.

Unfortunately, Lighthouse Trails began to notice that not all the faculty at Corban held to the same convictions that Dr. Wright did. For instance in 2007, in Corban Magazine in an article titled “Understanding the Emerging Church Movement,” a book co-authored by contemplative author J.P. Moreland, was recommended (see page 11).  The Corban article made several comments that indicated some at Corban did not have a good understanding of the emerging church movement. One comment, made by Corban professor Sam Baker, echoed contemplative J.P. Moreland. Baker stated: “The extreme of rationalism is that we worship the Bible instead of the God of the Bible.” J.P. Moreland, in a Christianity Today article, says that Christians are too committed to the Bible: “In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ.”

Also in that Corban article, Sam Baker suggests we must be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” when it comes to the emerging church. In regard to “mystical ancient rites,” Baker said that “some people have found these practices to be beneficial to their faith.” He says that if the practices produce good results, then they have “merit.” However, as Lighthouse Trails has often pointed out, just because one’s intent is “good” does not legitimize practices that are clearly Hinduistic and New Age in nature. Baker says that the emerging church has “stirred believers’ interest in meditation.”

The following year after the Corban Magazine article came out, Lighthouse Trails learned that Corban had invited an emergent speaker, Dan Merchant (Lord Save Us From Your Followers) to speak. In a December 2008 LT article titled “Concerns Over ‘Lord Save Us From Your Followers’ Author Speaking at Corban College,”  it stated:

In Corban’s Winter 2008 magazine the following is stated: “Dr. Kent Kersey [Corban campus pastor] brought Dan Merchant and his documentary, Lord Save Us From Your Followers, to campus as a conversation-starter. The film takes a critical look at American Christianity.” A Corban news article titled “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers’ gets ‘followers’ thinking” explains that Merchant spoke at Corban’s chapel service and later answered questions students had. “Campus Pastor Kent Kersey hoped the film would ’cause discussions.’ He deemed the event successful, therefore, because many classrooms have been abuzz since Merchant’s presentation, not to mention the informal conversations taking place.” The article said that Kersey believed “the message of the movie paralleled the maxim of St. Francis of Assisi, Preach the Gospel.” On Kersey’s blog, he says Merchant’s message is “compelling” and perhaps through it God is trying to say something to Christians (Kersey’s blog post was removed from the Internet:

However, the gospel Dan Merchant is promoting may be a “different gospel” and “another Jesus” (II Cor. 11:4) than that of the Bible. In the last chapter of the book Lord Save Us From Your Followers titled “The sea refuses NO RIVER,” Merchant refers to the people he interviewed over the course of the last few years. They represent many different religious, sexual, and political persuasions, including atheists and practicing homosexuals. Calling them “wonderful children of God,” he adds: “I know we’re both children of God. If they don’t know it shouldn’t change anything for me and I know it doesn’t change anything for God.”

Back in 2008, if you typed the term “Spiritual Formation” into the Corban search engine, nothing would come up. Today, the term comes up around 30 times. One of the reasons is that when Corban became a university, they developed a Masters degree program with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. It’s in other places too, like the Major in Student and Family Ministry where TH463 Biblical Spiritual Formation is one of the courses. (Incidentally, there is no such thing as “Biblical” Spiritual Formation. Spiritual Formation is a term that is tied in with contemplative spirituality – just ask Richard Foster, a pioneer of the Spiritual Formation movement, if Spiritual Formation can exclude contemplative).

And today, a look at the Fall 2013 Corban textbook list is disheartening to say the least.  Professor Kersey is using Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence, John Franke’s Barth for Arm Chair Theologians (Barth’s ideas are highly favored by the emerging church) and Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity in TH413. You can’t get more emergent than Tickle and Borg. Borg actually denies basic tenets of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth and the deity of Christ. Tickle thinks Brian McLaren could be the next Luther. Professor Kersey also uses textbooks by John Piper, a contemplative advocate. At least one other course, IS202, is using a Piper book as well.

We did thankfully notice in the Fall 2013 textbook list that Dr. Wright is still using A Time of Departing in his World Religions & Cults Class at Corban. However, all of the books being used that are pro-contemplative, pro-emerging in other classes at Corban by other professors send a message loud and clear to Corban students that contemplative/emerging is OK. Another example is the Senior Seminar course where Professor Gilbert is using Dan Allender’s book Leading With a Limp. Allender resonates with Brian McLaren (McLaren is listed in the acknowledgements in Leading With a Limp). Gilbert also uses a book by Allender in the Group Dynamics course (To Be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future).

Corban professors may defend themselves and say they are just using these books to take the good from them and leave out the bad (following Baker’s injunction not to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”). But why do students have to be immersed in heresy to spot it? Wouldn’t reading the Word and biblically solid books do a better job? Why is it that after a decade Ray Yungen’s book is still confined to just one professor’s class? We know for a fact that a high percentage of Corban students are attending an extremely contemplative/emerging church in Salem, Oregon. These students are getting it from every direction. Do their parents, who are paying high dollars to get their children a Christian college education, realize what their kids are being exposed to at church and at college? Most of them, probably not.

The Corban Music Department has been affected by contemplative/emerging spirituality too. In MU403, a book by Constance Cherry titled The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services is being used as the textbook. Cherry is one of the faculty at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (that should be called the Institute for EMERGING Worship Studies). The late Robert Webber was a foundational figure in building momentum for the emerging church.

We could give many other examples to show that contemplative/emerging has taken root at Corban University. A few more are: Biblical Leadership in Education using Phil Yancey’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew; BA593 using Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive; Professor Baker in CM333 using contemplative Mark DeVries’ Sustainable Youth Ministry; CM641 using Bill Hybels Axiom; and CM501 using textbooks by contemplative Bruce Demarest (Seasons of the Soul and Four Views on Christian Spirituality).

Finally, we’ll look at a Corban class called Servant Leadership (a term largely used in the emerging church to liken Jesus to a good model or servant to follow rather than to a Savior from sin). In that particular class, a book titled The Servant: A Simple Story by James C. Hunter is the textbook. We could say many things about this book, but we’ll just point to the acknowledgements page where Hunter thanks emergent Tony Campolo and New Ager M. Scott Peck for their “skills in articulating some of the great truths of life” and “Simon, monk and archabbey librarian, St. Meinrad Monastery, St. Meinrad, Indiana for sharing “the ropes” of monastic life” with him. We find it astounding that Hunter’s book is the best Corban could do to teach students how to be good leaders. A book that thanks a Catholic Benedictine monastic monk, an emergent leader, and a New Ager for truths about life!

Lighthouse Trails editors find it nothing short of a tragedy that Corban has ended up in the contemplative minefield of Christian colleges. Now that they are partnering with Mark Driscoll, the descent into apostasy will no doubt be hastened more than ever.

Research Articles on Mark Driscoll (see video below):

Anti-Religion Jeff Bethke (from Driscoll’s church) Hits the News Again – New Book, Same Message: “Imagine No Religion”

A Pastor Speaks Up: Mark Driscoll and the New “Sexual Spirituality”

COMPARISON: “New Spirituality” Leaders Reject and Ridicule the Second Coming of the Lord VERSUS Bible Prophecies Standing in Stark Contrast

New DVD, The Submerging Church, Reveals Mark Driscoll’s Mockery Against End-Time Believing Christians

Mark Driscoll and Liberty University Are Good Match – Both Promote Contemplative Spirituality

This video is a segment from the powerful, hard-hitting The Submerging Church 2 DVD documentary by Good Fight Ministries.

John Piper Says No to Catholic Contemplatives But Yes to Protestant Contemplatives

This past week we received an e-mail from a reader who brought to our attention a video online showing where popular Calvinist teacher John Piper is asked the question: “Is there such a thing as contemplative prayer or Christian meditation in the Reformed and Puritan tradition?” Piper answers by first attempting to define contemplative prayer:

[T]here is a spiritual seeing, or what we would call contemplation. This is where, when you read your Bible, you pause and you see in and through the words to the reality with your heart, and you apprehend spiritual reality. And this gives rise to a kind of praying that is spiritual and authentic and personal and warm and strong.

In the video, Piper says he is “ticked” with Christian seminary classes that turn “mainly” to the “mystical Catholic tradition in order to find this kind of depth and this kind of personal connection with the living God that is both rational and supra-rational and very mystical in its communion.” He adds, “You don’t have to embrace bad theology, namely Roman Catholic historic bad theology, in order to find amazing representatives of those who’ve known God at this level.”

The obvious question that was not answered in this snippet is whom does Piper believe are some of these “amazing representatives” who can teach us about “good” contemplative prayer? Thanks to our keen-eyed reader, who sent us a link to Piper’s church’s bookstore, we found that answer, at least in part —  none other than Richard Foster, whose book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is being sold on the Bethlehem Baptist Church’s bookstore website (source). Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is one of Foster’s primers on contemplative prayer. In that book, Foster tells us: “You must bind the mind with one thought” (p. 124). Foster’s advice echoes mystics such as Anthony DeMello as Ray Yungen points out in A Time of Departing (p. 75). Yungen warns that this binding the mind (getting rid of distractions and thoughts) is no different than classic Hindu meditation.

Ironically, while John Piper rejects the “Catholic” contemplatives, Foster does not. In Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster quotes and references several including Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Madame Guyon. With this in mind, we must reject the notion that John Piper is adequately distinguishing between bad Catholic contemplative prayer and good Protestant contemplative prayer. As we have always affirmed, there is no good contemplative prayer. And important to note, Thomas Merton was one of the significant figures in bringing contemplative meditation to the forefront, and Richard Foster is nothing less than a Merton disciple. So once again we have an example of a Christian leader talking out of both sides of the mouth and no doubt bringing confusion to his followers.

When Piper publicly interviewed Rick Warren in 2011, he showed his support for the Purpose Driven pastor’s doctrine when he stated: “At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound.”(1) This caused much dismay for those who understand the underlying beliefs of “America’s pastor.” Rick Warren is a strong advocate and promoter for contemplative mystics (such as Henri Nouwen) and the spiritual formation movement (the vehicle through which contemplative is entering the Protestant church).(2) So with John Piper’s embrace of Warren coupled with his apparent acceptance of Richard Foster, Piper students should be asking some prudent questions of their teacher. They should also dismiss the notion that we can distinguish between good and bad contemplative prayer. There is no such thing.

The following 10 minute preview video (from the New Face of Mystical Spirituality lecture series) by Ray Yungen may help show our concerns about contemplative prayer:

The English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible. “A Dream Come True”?

Written and compiled by Art K.

Introduction to a Study on The English Standard Version

First, why I compared the KJV to the ESV is because the ESV study Bible has received such high praise for being an excellent literal translation.

Second, in the Preface under “Translation Legacy” page 19, we read “The English Standard Version (ESV) stands in the classic mainstream of English Bible translations over the past half-millennium. The fountainhead of that stream was William Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526; marking the course were King James Version of 1611…” I understood this to mean that there would be a great similarity between the KJV and the ESV. What I found however, is that the ESV, is, in the majority of the references, very similar or the same as the NIV. This I find difficult to reconcile with the statement made in reference to the KJV.

Third, what motivated me to further compare the ESV to the KJV, was the very high praise that the ESV has received from so many people who are well versed in the field of bible translations. For example, John Piper calls it “a dream come true”? Please see

Fourth, what motivated me to examine the ESV Study Bible was what I read in the Introduction under the subtitle “Divine Words and Merely Human Words,” where it is written “The ESV Study Bible contains two kinds of words. The first kind is the actual of the Bible, which are the very words of God to us. These are printed in the larger font of each page. The second kind is the study notes, which are merely human words” page 9.

The problem is knowing which group of words to trust. The first group of words “the very words of God to us” in the ESV have so many omissions compared to the KJV that it creates serious doubt, not trust. If there are so many omissions in “the very words of God” in the ESV, how can we have confidence in the “words of men,” in the explanation?

Before we accept this translation as “a dream come true,” we need to examine the ESV bible carefully and ponder the words of Jesus, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you.'” Mt. 24:4 Click here to read this entire document.

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