Posts Tagged ‘John Piper’
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
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. Previously we have extensively documented the history of the camaraderie of IHOP and NAR.
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?
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. . . . 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.
Lighthouse 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.
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):
This video is a segment from the powerful, hard-hitting The Submerging Church 2 DVD documentary by Good Fight Ministries.
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:
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlFsBdEkxMQ.
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.
Update: See our more recent article on this topic: John Piper Interview: Rick Warren is “Biblical” – “He’s Been Slandered”
LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails finds it no surprise that popular preacher John Piper has invited New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet co-worker Rick Warren to speak at his upcoming Desiring God conference. In 2006, Piper invited contemplative proponent Mark Driscoll to his conference, causing a stir with many devoted Piper-followers. Worth noting, Rick Warren and co-worker Leonard Sweet are sharing platforms lately with many popular evangelical leaders (e.g., Joel Rosenberg with Sweet at Breakforth, Rick Warren with Greg Laurie and Chuck Smith at Harvest Crusade, Calvary Chapel pastor Skip Heitzig with Leonard Sweet at Heitzig’s church (later this summer). For those who don’t understand the “new” spirituality and the hoped-for “new reformation” of Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet, maybe it is a good time to research this out.
Commentary – by Ingrid Schlueter (Crosstalk)
“Rick Warren to Speak at John Piper’s Desiring God Conference
It has been confirmed that Rick Warren will be a speaker at the prominent Desiring God 2010 Conference. According to Jonathan Parnell at the offices of the conference, John Piper reportedly met Rick Warren at the funeral for Ralph Winter, and that is how the invitation came about.
Jonathan Parnell was quick to tell me that Dr. R.C. Sproul and Dr. Al Mohler would also be speakers, as if to assure me that things couldn’t get too out of hand with them there. It appears that Rick Warren is going to be given the opportunity to respond to charges that he is non-doctrinal in his messages. Parnell told me that Rick Warren is “more doctrinal” than he appears. That would be news to untold numbers of Christians who have seen their churches abandon the biblical Gospel by jumping on the Purpose-Driven bandwagon.
Additionally, one wonders exactly what doctrine undergirds Mr. Warren’s latest outrage, his involvement with Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation and its “North American offensive”, as Blair put it, with a purpose of “uniting all faiths.” That would be the doctrine of anti-christ.
Whatever Piper’s thinking is, it is plain that inviting Rick Warren to speak at his conference, giving him prime time to manipulate hearers and present himself as just another misunderstood leader, is a serious mistake. Piper’s years of credibility as a trustworthy minister of Gospel truth are being undermined by this decision. I was one of several who were personally invited to Saddleback by Mr. Warren to speak with him in a private meeting last year. The PR offensive was clever, but it failed. Warren rests not, day or night, in his attempts to bring his critics on board and end the troublesome dissent that always plagues him. To win over Piper and his followers would be a victory indeed.
Piper has also announced that he will be leaving on sabbatical on May 1. Hopefully, he will have time before he leaves to address the likely fallout from this decision. It is not a small thing.
Everywhere we see signs of the falling away talked about in Scripture. It is a warning to all of us to be sober and vigilant, because our adversary walks around, seeking whom he can devour. We need the full armor of God daily and to use our shield of faith and our Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We also need to pray for discernment in this hour when so many, including leaders, are losing theirs.Click here for source.
This is a follow up of a report we released last week regarding John Piper’s Desiring God conference. The report stated:
The Desiring God 2006 National Conference, to be held on September 29th, will be addressing “the Supremacy of Christ in a postmodern world.” According to John Piper, founder of the Desiring God ministries, speakers for the national conference are “eager to speak on behalf of the risen Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ.” However, one of the speakers is Mark Driscoll (of Mars Hill Church), who is considered to be one of the emerging church leaders. While Driscoll has recently stated that he has distanced himself from certain Emergent leaders (McLaren, Jones, etc.), in a recent Lighthouse Trails article, documentation shows that Driscoll is promoting contemplative spirituality.
It has now been confirmed that Desiring God is standing by their selection of Mark Driscoll and has issued a statement regarding this situation. Below is a copy of that statement:
Thank you for contacting Desiring God. We are very sorry for any confusion or disappointment we have caused you by having Mark Driscoll address the National Conference on the subject of the church. While we don’t agree with all of his communication methods, he is a brother for whom Christ died and one whom God is using in significant ways to build His church. We would like to hear and interact with what he has to say. We hope this ministry will continue to bless you.
For those of you who would like to contact Desiring God and express your concerns, please see contact information below, which was supplied by Desiring God in their statement.
2601 E. Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Also read our report: Mark Driscoll and Acts 29 Network – Promoting Contemplative
The Desiring God 2006 National Conference, to be held on September 29th, will be addressing “the Supremacy of Christ in a postmodern world.” According to John Piper, founder of the Desiring God ministries, speakers for the national conference are “eager to speak on behalf of the risen Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ.” However, one of the speakers is Mark Driscoll (of Mars Hill Church), who is considered to be one of the emerging church leaders. While Driscoll has recently stated that he has distanced himself from certain Emergent leaders (McLaren, Jones, etc.), in a recent Lighthouse Trails article, documentation shows that Driscoll is promoting contemplative spirituality. There should be, therefore, great concern that John Piper is including Driscoll in a conference that is addressing post-modernism in a critical light. Contemplative spirituality (i.e., New Age mysticism)is the vehicle that the postmodern world is using to reach their objectives. By including a pro-contemplative speaker at this conference will confuse participants at best and dangerously mislead them spiritually at worst. Rather than bringing Mark Driscoll in as a speaker, his spiritual sympathies towards contemplative should be exposed, and people should be warned.
According to the Acts 29 Network (Driscoll’s ministry)recommended reading list of “worthy literature” Mark Driscoll recommends books by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and a book called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Other books on the list include those by panentheist St. John of the Cross, and a collection of books about Celtic Spirituality (i.e., contemplative spirituality) as well as books by Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Eugene Peterson, and Larry Crabb (AACC). Act 29′s recommendation of Thomas Merton (who said he was impregnated with Sufism: Islamic mysticism)is perhaps the most telling of all. One of the books Driscoll recommends by Merton is Wisdom of the Desert (referring to the desert fathers). Lighthouse Trails Research has contacted Acts 29 in the recent past and told them about these recommended resources and their dangers. As we stated in our previous article:
For Driscoll to say he has distanced himself from some aspects of the emerging church (or the Emergent leaders) but then advocate Merton and this line up of other avid mystics is an oxymoron.
The point is, Mark Driscoll is promoting contemplative spirituality, and for someone to say they don’t promote the emerging church but then promote contemplative is faulty thinking because the latter is so much worse – it is contemplative spirituality that makes the emerging church so heretical. Remember, the premise of contemplative is that all paths lead to God and God is within all creation.
We hope and pray that Mark Driscoll will remove these contemplative recommendations from his website and make a public statement saying that contemplative spirituality is an anti-biblical belief system that he rejects. Otherwise, we pray that John Piper will find someone else to speak at his upcoming conference.
Acts 29 is also recommending various emerging/contemplative organizations, networkds and churches that should also be removed from his site if Driscoll is to be considered as someone who is against the emerging church and contemplative spirituality.