Posts Tagged ‘Ken Blanchard’

Revealing Quotes by Influential Contemplatives

These revealing quotes are from well-known figures who have significantly influenced the religious landscape in today’s culture. Sadly, they have helped to mislead millions with their promotion of contemplative prayer (a mystical, panentheistic-rooted practice).

Shalem Prayer Institute
“This mystical stream [contemplative prayer and other monastic traditions] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality.”—Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18.

Gerald May/Brother Lawrence
“. . . a little phrase that Love inspires,” letting a word, phrase or image repeat itself quietly deep inside us as we go through our daily activities.”—Gerald May, quoting Brother Lawrence – “Contemplative Spiritual Formation: Going Deeper”

Rick Warren
“With practice, you can develop the habit of praying silent ‘breath prayers'” – Rick Warren, from his book, The Purpose Driven Life (p. 299)

“[U]se ‘breath prayers’ throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath.”—Rick Warren,
Purpose Driven Life, p. 89.

Ken Blanchard
“Does Buddha have anything to offer non-Buddhists in the workplace? My answer is a wholehearted, ‘Yes.’—Ken Blanchard, co-author of the One Minute Manager, from the foreword and front cover of What Would Buddha Do in the Workplace?

Bruce Wilkinson
“We have promoted an unbiblical message that becoming born-again is the answer to everything. It’s not. It changes your eternity, but it doesn’t change your sexual behavior, for instance. The gospel does not always have the answer for modern-day dilemmas.” – JOY! magazine, the South African counterpart to Charisma, in April 2004

From Youth Specialties
“I built myself a prayer room—a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns…”—Mike Perschon, Youth Specialties Magazine, December 2004

“Choose a sacred word or phrase. Consistently use the same word throughout the prayer. Begin silently to repeat your sacred word or phrase.” – Mark Yaconelli, Youth Specialties National Pastor’s Convention (source)

Charisma Magazine
“Spiritual ecstasy. The third phase of contemplative prayer … a supernatural trance state …” – Charisma magazine, Oct. 2004

Brennan Manning
“Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming into consciousness of what is already there.” – Brennan Manning, Signature of Jesus, p. 197

Larry Crabb
“Brennan (Manning) is my friend, walking ahead of me on the path toward home. As I watch him from behind, I am drawn to more closely follow on the path…” – Larry Crabb, endorsement of Abba’s Child (source)

Henri Nouwen
“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.” – Sabbatical Journey (the last book Nouwen wrote), p. 51, hardcover edition

“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart.” – Way of the Heart, p. 81.

Ruth Haley Barton
“Ask for a simple prayer to express your willingness to meet God in the silence … a simple statement …such as “Here I am.” … Help yourself return to your original intent by repeating the prayer that you have chosen.” – Discipleship Journal, Vol. 113 1999

John Michael Talbot
“I began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer, once again. I integrated the use of Tai Chi and yoga.” – John Michael Talbot, Interview with Christianity Today 10/22/2001

Shakti Gawain
“Its [visualization] effect is to dissolve our internal barriers to natural harmony and self realization.” – Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization, p. 6.

Richard Foster
“[Y]ou and I may have strong opinions on double predestination, supralapsarianism, and biblical inerrancy, but these should not be considered evangelical essentials.” – Streams of Living Water, Kindle location 3914

Matthew Fox
“We need to become aware of the Cosmic Christ, which means recognizing that every being has within it the light of Christ.” – Steve Turner interviewing Matthew Fox, “Natural Mystic?” (Nine O Clock Service, March 1995)

“Everyone is born a mystic and a lover who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this mystic or lover of life alive.” (source)

Beth Moore
“[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.” – from the Be Still DVD, an infomercial for contemplative prayer (source)

Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul
“What works for me is a combination of disciplines: I do yoga, tai chi which is a Chinese martial art and three kinds of meditation—vipasana, transcendental and mantra (sound) meditation.” – from Choosing to be Happy

Thomas Merton
“Isn’t it a pity that people are going into LSD to have spiritual experiences, when we have a tradition in the Church [contemplative prayer] which no one knows anything about?” (source)

M. Basil Pennington
“When we go to the center of our being and pass through that center into the very center of God we get in immediate touch with this divine creating energy … that the divine energy may have the freedom to forward the evolution of consciousness in us and through us, as a part of the whole, in the whole of the creation.” – An Invitation to Centering Prayer

Thomas Keating
“My acquaintance with eastern methods of meditation has convinced me that … there are ways of calming the mind in the spiritual disciplines of both the east and the west [and] many serious seekers of truth study the eastern religions.” – Open Mind, Open Heart, p. 29

Pope John Paul
“Pick out a word or two. Tell your children to sit quietly and repeat the word in their heads—not thinking about the word, just repeating it.” – Everyday Catholic newsletter, Nov. 2001

The Emerging Church
“The first time I introduced this, the kids came in, and I had a candle going and a little incense burning and some Gregorian chant music on the CD player” – Tony Jones, from interview with editor Jeff Bailey, Cutting Edge magazine, pp. 15-22.

“Some of the values of the emerging church are an emphasis on emotions, global outlook, a rise in the use of arts, and a rise in mysticism and spirituality.”—Josh Reich, Youth Specialties, “Creating Worship Gatherings for the Emerging Church” 

“We’re rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life.”– Rob Bell, “The Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today, Nov. 1, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name OR A Deception By Any Other Name – It’s All the Same

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

This is from a circulating email from Prairie [formerly Prairie Bible Institute or PBI in Three Hills Alberta].

It sounds so good, but I suspect it is dangerous.

S. ____

Email Our Reader Received from Prairie:

What’s NEW for our upcoming year
New Student Orientation begins tomorrow! This time of year campus is filled with a joyful buzz. As we begin the 2017/2018 school year, we have a lot to be thankful for and want to share what is new at Prairie.

Centered on keeping company with Jesus and being reshaped by his Spirit, students in the Christian Formation program will become more deeply rooted in the Scriptures and the process of discipleship. We will celebrate the launch of this program on September 15, 2017.


Comments by Lighthouse Trails:

Lighthouse Trails has researched and reported on Prairie Bible Institute a number of times over the past several years (e.g. our article: “COLLEGE ALERT: Letters to Lighthouse Trails Prove Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta) Has Gone Emergent”) And even though school leadership has, at times, insisted they were not contemplative or emergent, every time we have observed them, we have come to the same conclusion – that’s exactly what they are.

“Christian Formation” is just another term for Spiritual Formation or Spirituality. It is rooted in contemplative spirituality. In Prairie’s description for the Christian Formation program, it says students will: “Engage with Christians of the past that have thought deeply about Christian growth and formation” (emphasis added). Which Christians of the past? (Or the present?)

We can gain some insight into who PBI is turning to for spiritual guidance by looking at PBI’s current textbook list for 2017. These may or may not be books being used in PBI’s Christian Formation program, but they are books being used in the school. One thing we’ve learned over the years, when  a school is immersed in contemplative spirituality, it isn’t just in the Spiritual Formation program; rather, it is integrated throughout the school.

We would consider all of these authors as part of the emergent church and/or outside the scope of biblical Christianity.

This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry

The Transforming Friendship by James Houston and Dallas Willard

Lifesigns : Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective by Henri Nouwen

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard

The Secret : What Great Leaders Know and Do by Ken Blanchard

The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson

Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (references about a dozen times a tantric sex author)

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Taking Your Soul to Work (foreword by Eugene Peterson)

Being Well When We are Ill: Wholeness And Hope In Spite Of Infirmity (Living Well) by Marva Dawn

The Core Realities of Youth Ministry by Mike Yaconelli

Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We Need to Go by Mark Oestreicher (Marko – former Youth Specialties president)

If you are not familiar with these names, you can do a search on our research site and find information.



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

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

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


Abbott, David L.

Adams, James Rowe

Allender, Dan

Arico, Carl J.

Armstrong, Karen

Artress, Lauren

Assagioli, Roberto


Babbs, Liz

Bakker, Jay

Barton, Ruth Haley

Bass, Diana Butler

Batterson, Mark

Baxter, Mary

Bell, Rob

Benner, David

Bennison, John

Bentley, Todd

Bickle, Mike

Bjorklund, Kurt

Blanchard, Ken

Boa, Kenneth

Bolger, Ryan

Bolz-Weber, Nadia


Bordenkircher, Susan

Borg, Marcus

Bourgeault, Cynthia

Bronsink, Troy

Brother Lawrence

Brueggemann, Walter

Bruteau, Beatrice

Buchanan, John M.

Budziszewski, J.

Buford, Bob

Burke, Spencer


Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg

Caliguire, Mindy

Campbell, Joseph

Campolo, Bart

Campolo, Tony

Canfield, Jack

Card, Michael

Carroll, L. Patrick

Chalke, Steve

Chalmers, Joseph

Chinmoy, Sri

Chittister, Joan

Claiborne, Shane

Coe, John

Coffin, William Sloane

Collins, Jim

Crabb, Larry

Cron, Ian

Crossan, John Dominic

Crowder, David


De Mello, Anthony De Waal, Esther

Demarest, Bruce

Dillard, Annie

Dowd, Michael

Dykes, David R

Driscoll, Mark

Drury, Keith

Dyckman, Katherine Marie


Edwards, Gene

Edwards, Tilden

Egan, Harvey

Epperly, Bruce

Evans, Rachel Held


Felten, David

Fleming, Dave

Flowers, Betty Sue

Ford, Leighton

Fosdick, Harry Emerson

Foster, Richard

Fox, George

Fox, Matthew

Friend, Howard E., Jr.

Funk, Mary Margaret


Garrison, Becky

Geering, Lloyd

Gibbs, Eddie

Gire, Ken

Goleman, Daniel

Goll, James

Graham, Dom Alfred

Greig, Pete

Griffin, Emilie

Griffiths, Bede

Gru, Jean-Nicholas



Haas, Peter Traban

Haight, Roger

Haliczer, Stephen

Hall, Thelma

Hansen, Mark Victor

Hays, Edward

Hazard, David

Healey, Charles

Hedrick, Charles

Hildegard of Bingen

Hipps, Shane

Holmes, Emily

Hougen, Judith

Humphreys, Carolyn

Hunard, Hannah

Hunt, Anne

Hunter, Todd

Hybels, Bill


Ignatius Loyola, St.

Issler, Klaus


Jager, Willigis

Jenks, Gregory C.

Johnson, Jan

Johnston, William

Jones, Alan

Jones, Laurie Beth

Jones, Tony


Kaisch, Ken

Keating, Thomas

Kelsey, Morton

Kent, Keri Wyatt

Kidd, Sue Monk

Kimball, Dan

King, Mike

King, Robert H.

Kraft, Robert A.

Kreeft, Peter


L’Engle, Madeleine

Lamott, Anne

Law, William


Madigan, Shawn

Main, John

Manning, Brennan

Martin, James

Mattioli, Joseph

Matus, Thomas

May, Gerald

McColman, Carl

McKnight, Scot

McLaren, Brian

McManus, Erwin

Meninger, William

Meyers, Robin R.

Miller, Calvin

Miller, Donald

Moon, Gary

Moore, Beth

Moore, Brian P.

Moran, Michael T.

Moreland, J.P.

Morganthaler, Sally

Mother Theresa

Mundy, Linus

Muyskens, John David


Newcomer, Carrie

Norris, Gunilla Brodde

Norris, Kathleen

Nouwen, Henri


Ortberg, John


Pagels, Elaine

Pagitt, Doug

Palmer, Parker

Paloma, Margaret M.

Patterson, Stephen J.

Peace, Richard

Peale, Norman Vincent

Pennington, Basil

Pepper, Howard

Peterson, Eugene

Piper, John

Plumer, Fred

Pope Benedict XVI

Procter-Murphy, Jeff


Rakoczy, Susan

Reininger, Gustave

Rhodes, Tricia

Robbins, Duffy

Robbins, Maggie

Rohr, Richard

Rolle, Richard

Rollins, Peter

Romney, Rodney

Ruether, Rosemary Radford

Rupp, Joyce

Russell, A.J.

Ryan, Thomas


Sampson, Will

Sanford, Agnes

Scandrette, Mark

Scazzero, Pete

Schuller, Robert

Selmanovic, Samir

Senge, Peter

Shannon, William

Shore, John

Sinetar, Marsha

Sittser, Gerald

Smith, Chuck, Jr.

Smith, Elizabeth

Smith, James Bryan

Southerland, Dan

Spangler, Ann

Spong, John Shelby

St. Romain, Philip

Stanley, Andy

Steindl-Rast, David

Strobel, Kyle

Sweet, Leonard


Talbot, John Michael

Tasto, Maria

Taylor, Barbara Brown

Teague, David

Thomas, Gary

Thompson, Marjorie

Thresher, Tom

Tiberghien, Susan

Tickle, Phyllis

Treece, Patricia

Tuoti, Frank

Twiss, Richard


Vaswig, William (Bill)

Virkler, Mark

Voskamp, Ann


Wallis, Jim

Wakefield, James

Ward, Benedicta

Ward, Karen

Warren, Rick

Webber, Robert

Wilhoit, James C.

Willard, Dallas

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan

Winner, Lauren

Wink, Walter

Wolsey, Roger

Wright, N.T.


Yaconelli, Mark

Yaconelli, Mike

Yancey, Phillip

Yanni, Kathryn A.

Yarian, Br. Karekin M., BSG

Young, Sarah

Young, William Paul

Yungblut, John R.


Zeidler, Frank P.

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

The Quantum Christ: Entering the World AND the Church Through Popular New Age & Christian Leaders

by Warren B. Smith

Fritjof Capra

The New Age/New Spirituality is already heralding quantum physics as a “scientific” basis for their contention that God is not only transcendent but also immanent—“in” everyone and everything. Physicist Fritjof Capra’s 1975 best-selling book on quantum physics—The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism—was the first to present this proposed scientific/spiritual model to a mass audience. In it, Capra explains that he gained new spiritual insights through a mystical experience he had sitting on a beach in Santa Cruz, California in 1969:

Five years ago, I had a beautiful experience which set me on a road that has led to the writing of this book. I was sitting by the ocean one late summer afternoon, watching the waves rolling in and feeling the rhythm of my breathing, when I suddenly became aware of my whole environment as being engaged in a gigantic cosmic dance. . . . As I sat on that beach my former experiences [research in high-energy physics] came to life; I “saw” cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I “saw” the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I “heard” its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshipped by the Hindus.1

Commenting on his experience thirty years later, Capra writes that back in 1970 he “knew with absolute certainty that the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism would someday be common knowledge.”2 In 1999, in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of his book, Capra reflects on the fact that The Tao of Physics had sold more than a million copies over the years and had been translated into at least twelve languages:

What did The Tao of Physics touch off in all these people? What was it they had experienced themselves? I had come to believe that the recognition of the similarities between modern physics and Eastern mysticism is part of a much larger movement, of a fundamental change of worldviews, or paradigms, in science and society, which is now happening throughout Europe and North America and which amounts to a profound cultural transformation. This transformation, this profound change of consciousness, is what so many people have felt intuitively over the past two or three decades, and this is why The Tao of Physics has struck such a responsive chord.3

Capra adds:

The awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena as manifestations of a basic oneness, is also the most important common characteristic of Eastern worldviews. One could say it is the very essence of those views, as it is of all mystical traditions. All things are seen as interdependent, inseparable, and as transient patterns of the same ultimate reality.4

Fritjof Capra then describes the union of mysticism and the new physics as the “new spirituality” that is “now being developed by many groups and movements, both within and outside the churches.” As an example of how this “new spirituality” is moving into the church, he refers to one of Leonard Sweet’s “role models” and “heroes”—Matthew Fox:

On the other hand, I also believe that our own spiritual traditions will have to undergo some radical changes in order to be in harmony with the values of the new paradigm. The spirituality corresponding to the new vision of reality I have been outlining here is likely to be an ecological, earth-oriented, postpatriarchal spirituality. This kind of new spirituality is now being developed by many groups and movements, both within and outside the churches. An example would be the creation-centered spirituality promoted by Matthew Fox and his colleagues.5

A perfect example of Capra’s reference to how this quantum “new spirituality” is being developed in churches is exemplified by Margaret Wheatley’s appearance at the Leadership Network’s May 2000 “Exploring off the Map” conference with Leonard Sweet and others. As described in the previous chapter, Wheatley first encountered the “new science” in Fritjof Capra’s book The Turning Point, as noted in the updated introduction of her book Leadership and the New Science:

I opened my first book on the new science—Fritjof Capra’s The Turning Point, which describes the new world view emerging from quantum physics. This provided my first glimpse of a new way of perceiving the world, one that comprehended its processes of change, its deeply patterned nature, and its dense webs of connections.6

To further illustrate how pervasive this quantum spirituality has become in the church, consider an organization called VantagePoint3. This South Dakota-based group has developed a three-phase “spiritual formation” program called The VantagePoint3 Process (or L3), which incidentally is being used by a growing number of churches across North America. In the first phase—“Emerging Leaders”—a quote and summation of Margaret Wheatley is used to teach one of the points in that phase. The curriculum quotes Wheatley from her book Leadership and the New Science and emphasizes her view on “relationship” and “interconnection.”7 The fact that this program points to Wheatley demonstrates yet another way that quantum physics and quantum spirituality is already in the church. It is worth noting that this curriculum uses Galatians 3:27-28 to partially summarize what Wheatley has to say. But while Galatians 3 speaks of “Christ Jesus,” Wheatley’s quantum “Christ” is the universal “Christ” of quantum “oneness.” VantagePoint3’s use of Wheatley to teach about “Christ” is a perfect example of what Fritjof Capra described as this new spirituality being developed within the churches.

The VantagePoint3 Process also cites materials by Leonard Sweet, Peter Senge, and Ken Blanchard. All three were featured with Wheatley at the “Exploring off the Map” conference organized by Bob Buford and Leadership Network.

Another example of how quantum physics has already entered the church is through the ministry of Annette Capps—the daughter of best-selling author and charismatic pastor Charles Capps. There are over 100,000 copies of Annette Capps’ booklet Quantum Faith in print. In the booklet, she presents a Christian faith compatible with the so-called “scientific” principles of quantum physics and as such is also compatible with the so-called “scientific” principles of the New Age/New Spirituality. She even refers readers to New Age leader Gary Zukav’s book The Dancing Wu Li Masters—An Overview of the New Physics.8 In her booklet, she writes:

As I studied the theories of quantum physics, I was reminded of a prophecy given by my father, author and teacher Charles Capps, “Some things which have required faith to believe will no longer require faith, for it will be proven to be scientific fact.”9

Obviously, authors like Gary Zukav and Fritjof Capra have had a huge influence not only in the world, but also in the church. Capra, a New Age physicist and Aquarian conspirator, is mentioned frequently in Marilyn Ferguson’s book The Aquarian Conspiracy.10 In addition, countless books and articles have been written about the quantum aspects of the “new science” and the “new spirituality” since the publication of Capra’s The Tao of Physics and The Turning Point. Gary Zukav and his writings on quantum physics were praised and featured years ago by Oprah Winfrey on the Oprah Winfrey Show.11 William Young’s best-selling book The Shack is just the latest in a long line of books that deal directly or indirectly with quantum physics and quantum spirituality. And like Margaret Wheatley’s book Leadership and the New Science but on a much larger scale, Young’s book is also having great influence by subtly introducing quantum physics and quantum spirituality into the church. To top this off, a New Age movie on quantum physics [What the Bleep Do We Know] has greatly influenced many people and has already become an underground cult classic. (taken from A “Wonderful” Deception, pp.167-171)

1. Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1999), p. 11.
2. Ibid., p. 323.
3. Ibid., pp. 324-325.
4. Ibid., p. 330.
5. Ibid., p. 341.
6. Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Inc., 3rd ed., 2006), pp. 3-4, brought to my attention by Discernment Research Group.
7. Emerging Leaders: Relational Foundations of Leadership (Sioux Falls, SD, Vantage Point3, 2006,, p. 52; this information provided by Jennifer Pekich.
8. Annette Capps, Quantum Faith (England, AR: Capps Publishing, 2003, 2007), p. 4, booklet brought to my attention by Larry DeBruyn.
9. Ibid., p. 6.
10. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, op. cit., pp. 145, 149-150, 152, 172, 261, 374.
11. Gary Zukav’s first appearance on Oprah was in October 1998. This propelled his book The Seat of the Soul to the top of the New York Times best-seller list for two years.

“Servant Leadership” … A Christian Idea? … Not Exactly

LTRP Note: Today, there is much talk about teaching people to become good leaders. In reality, what is happening is people are being taught to be “good” followers. The term (and the concept) Servant Leadership, used by many of the most prolific Christian authors and teachers today, did not originate with them. This is a term you will now find in many Christian colleges and seminaries. But things are not always as they seem.

by Warren B. Smith
Servant Leadership

To further encourage people to accept the teachings of the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality, Neale Donald Walsch founded an organization in 2003 called Humanity’s Team. The expressed purpose of Humanity’s Team was “to change the world” . . . The Humanity’s Team Leadership gathering was a concerted effort by Walsch, Barbara Marx Hubbard and their other New Age colleagues to further develop the new paradigm concept of self-declared “servant leadership” as an organizing principle by which to change the world. In the Preface to the “Humanity’s Team Leadership Declaration Agreement,” Walsch tells his self-declared New Age “servant leaders” that:

By declaring yourself a leader, you’re taking initiative and moving into a role of influence in a lively and vital network that’s changing the world. We’re changing the world, first by changing ourselves and then by touching the world as changed beings. We believe the change in us catalyzes change in others. So in changing the world, we’re choosing to be the change we wish to see in the world. By taking on this leadership role, you are choosing to be the change too.1

In another section of this same Agreement, titled “responsibilities of self-declared leaders,” it states: “To serve, because that is leadership’s function.” On his Humanity’s Team website Walsch has a “worldwide servant leaders list.”2 He invites those visiting his website to declare themselves to be “servant leaders.”

The term “servant leadership” originated with former AT&T business executive Robert K. Greenleaf who wrote the 1977 book Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness.3 Greenleaf stated that he was inspired to create the “servant leadership” model after reading German-born author Hermann Hesse’s mysterious, metaphysical book Journey to the East:

The idea of the Servant as Leader came out of reading Herman Hesse’s Journey to the East. In this story we see a band of men on a mythical journey, probably also Hesse’s own journey.4

Hesse was described by his publisher as “a Western man profoundly affected by the mysticism of Eastern thought.”5 The publisher explained that Journey to the East was the story of a group of seekers from a “secret society” whose ultimate destination was “the East”–the “Home of the Light”–where they expected to find “spiritual renewal.”6 Greenfleaf’s inspiration for “servant leadership” came from Hesse’s “Leo,” the obscure “servant leader” of this secret society that was journeying toward the East. Greenleaf wrote that he received his insight about “servant leadership” as he “contemplated” Leo: “I did not get the notion of servant as leader from conscious logic. Rather it came to me as an intuitive insight as I contemplated Leo.”7

Greenleaf described how his “servant leadership” model was based on the idea of a “servant leader” that was a “living” leader, as Leo was to his group, rather than some “dead prophet” from the past.

Some who have difficulty with this theory assert that their faith rests on one or more of the prophets of old having given the “word” for all time and that the contemporary ones do not speak to their condition as the older ones do…. One cannot interact with and build strength in a dead prophet, but one can do it with a living one.8

It is no wonder that a “living” New Age “prophet” like Walsch–who is obviously trying to overturn the Bible’s “dead prophets”–would find Greenleaf’s mystically inspired model of “servant leadership” compatible to his Humanity’s Team New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality leadership movement. Greenleaf’s term “servant leadership” might sound biblical, but it clearly is not.

Ironically, in 2003, when Neale Donald Walsch founded his worldwide Humanity’s Team on the principle of self-declared “servant leadership,” self-professing Christian businessman Ken Blanchard also founded his worldwide “Lead Like Jesus” movement on this same principle of self-declared “servant leadership.” In their curiously similar 2003 “servant leadership” programs, both Neale Donald Walsch and Ken Blanchard had their leaders sign statements declaring themselves to be servant leaders.”9 There is often overlapping language, common to both of their “servant leader” movements. Walsch’s Humanity’s Team Leadership Declaration encourages his “servant leaders” to “be the change” they wish to see “in the world.”10 In Blanchard’s 2006 book Lead Like Jesus he also tells his servant leaders they should “be the change” they wish to see “in others.”11 There is an obvious danger of these overlapping servant leader movements. One day soon the Christian “servant leader” may very well become indistinguishable from the New Age/New Spirituality “servant leader.” In fact, at the end of Hesse’s book Journey to the East, the figure of the author/seeker merges into and becomes indistinguishable and at “one” with the servant leader Leo. Thus Hesse’s book, along with Greenleaf’s notion of servant leadership, actually facilitate the plans of the New Age “Christ” who is trying to transform biblical Christianity into the emerging New Spirituality. (From False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? by Warren Smith)

1. Humanity’s Team Leadership Declaration Agreement. This agreement was distributed to the attendees of the Leadership Gathering in Portland, Oregon, June 27-July 1, 2003. (
3. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership web page: What is Servant-Leadership?;
4. Robert K. Greenleaf, SERVANT LEADERSHIP: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness (New York: Paulist Press, 1977), p. 7.
5. Hermann Hesse, THE JOURNEY TO THE EAST (New York: Picador, 1956), back cover.
6. Ibid.
7. Greenleaf, SERVANT LEADERSHIP, p. 12.
8. Ibid., p. 9.
9. (Walsch): Humanity’s Team Leadership Declaration Agreement. This agreement was distributed to the attendees of the Leadership Gathering in Portland, Oregon, June 27-July 1, 2003. (Blanchard): Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, THE SERVANT LEADER: TRANSFORMING YOUR HEART, HANDS, & HABITS (Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2003), pp. 120-121.
10. Humanity’s Team Leadership Declaration Agreement, p. 1.
11. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Times (Nashville, Tennessee:W Publishing Group, 2005), p. 209.

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Revisting Awana’s Move Toward Contemplative – And Another Look at “Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation

Update April 2012: Because Awana’s book, Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation is circulating the market, and because we hear from Lighthouse Trails readers who ask about Awana and their promotion of Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative), we are reposting this information about this book. Prior to posting this revisit article, we contacted Broadman and Holman, the publishers of the book, and learned that the book is still in active print.

Is Awana naive about contemplative spirituality? If so, then we beseech them to educate themselves and request a recall on their book, Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation.

In the February 2008 edition of The Berean Call newsletter, a question was asked about Awana:

I’ve heard that Awana is drifting toward mysticism in the way they are ministering to children. What do you know about that?

The Berean Call gave an excellent answer, stating that the issue arose from a book titled, Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation. Two leaders in the Awana organization are contributors of the book, and comments they made promoting the contemplative approach have caused concern for the direction Awana may be heading. In the Berean Call answer, it was suggested that perhaps Awana is naive when it comes to contemplative, and this is why they made the comments they did. In other words, when they spoke favorably about Richard Foster and other elements of contemplative, maybe they didn’t know what they were talking about.

This naivete presents a problem, however. And for Christian leaders, naivete is not an acceptable excuse, because people (and in this case, children) can be misled and spiritually hurt. So what can Awana do about this? If their comments in the book (that they offer in their store and use in their Rorheim Institute) are based on their naivete of contemplative spirituality, and if they truly do not want to take Awana in the mystical direction, then two things need to happen.

First, they must educate Awana leaders who are under their tutelage about the true nature of contemplative spirituality. Secondly, they will need to request a recall of the present edition of Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation and revise it so statements like the following are no longer in the book. These comments are made by Greg Carlson and John Crupper, executives of Awana. A comment of explanation by Lighthouse Trails follows each of their statements:

Page 82: “In his excellent overview, Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster outlines six different spiritual traditions that present within the Christian faith. They are the contemplative tradition, the holiness tradition, the charismatic tradition, the social justice tradition, the evangelical tradition, and the incarnational tradition. Each of these has played an important part in the larger history of the Christian church…. Each of these traditions has made significant contributions to Christian spirituality and each has weaknesses when isolated from other traditions.” (emphasis added)

Our Comment: It is in Streams of Living Water that Foster quotes panentheist Thomas Kelly as saying “within all” there is a “Divine Center” (p. 23). Foster also talks about a “kingdom of heaven” and a “vision of an all-inclusive people” (p.12). He later in the book reveals his “I see a people” essay, which is a description of this all-inclusive kingdom (p. 273). This “great gathering of the people of God” includes evangelical pastors, Catholic priests, and contemplative monks.

What Carlson and Crupper seem to have a problem with when it comes to contemplative, isn’t contemplative itself but rather that it should not be isolated but should be included in Christian spirituality. That is why they said each has weaknesses when isolated from other traditions. Thus they give the green light to contemplative as long as it is combined with other “traditions.” They say: Each of these models can learn from the other (p. 83).

Page 83-84: “While we believe that the Contemplative-Reflective Model highlights some significant needs in children’s spiritual formation, we should see it as an addition to the base provided for us in the Scriptures….We share agreement with the Contemplative-Reflective Model in a number of areas … we have much to learn from the Contemplative-Reflective Model. Many of our children’s programs are far from reverential, and the constant barrage of impulses does not seem to help in developing this interior life.”

Our Comment: This “interior life” of getting rid of distractions is classic contemplative spirituality. Contemplative mystic Henri Nouwen stated: “to empty out our crowded interior life and create the quiet space where we can dwell with God” (Nouwen, The Way of the Heart)

Page 85: [W]e would see many of the techniques [from the Contemplative-Model] of teaching as valuable tools for learning … the ideas of repetition and routine … are important; and we affirm them.

Our Comment: If the Awana writers in this book are trying to persuade readers that they do not promote contemplative spirituality, they have done a terrible job in expressing this. On the contrary, they have given minor cautions and major affirmations. They conclude with: “Given this framework, the Contemplative-Reflective Model becomes, at best, an important tool in helping provide a balanced development of the Christian spiritual life” (p. 87). While Carlson and Crupper point out some of the flaws in the Contemplative-Reflective Model, they make it clear that there is much good in it. Their response to contemplative spirituality leaves one message to readers: contemplative has some problems but if incorporated with other spiritual traditions, it has great value. This will take Awana in the same direction as Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen.

Page 88: [Carlson and Crupper] “appreciate the Contemplative-Reflective Model’s commitment to the development of the child’s spiritual life. We are not in disagreement about the necessity of this. Nor would we disagree with the validity of the model to build upon the foundation that is laid by knowing Scriptures. Further, we would acknowledge that the commitments that drive this model provide a necessary balance within the larger scheme of things.”

Our Comment: Perhaps Carlson and Crupper do not realize that the “commitments that drive” the contemplative model are based on the spirituality of Thomas Merton as the book points out, and they are aligned with panentheism that states all humans have God within.

The comments made in Perspectives in Children’s Spiritual Formation are not the only indications that Awana is being heavily influenced by contemplative spirituality. For instance, through Awana’s prison project, the organization has partnered with New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Encounter program. On July 13th 2007, we spoke with Lyndon Azcuna, Awana Cross Cultural Ministries director, who told us he was a Lead Like Jesus facilitator. Azcuna works in the main headquarters office of Awana. He said that the project was using Ken Blanchard’s materials. When we explained to him that Blanchard promoted the New Age and mystical meditation, he said that the program did not have these elements. And in the 1999-2009 Ten Years and Counting report by Lead Like Jesus, reference to this partnership with Awana is made several times (on pages 16, 20,  23).

Update April 2012: On of the steps that the Ten Years and Counting report gives to “Lead Like Jesus” is:

“By engaging the habits of solitude, prayer, and study of the Scriptures, I seek to align my Servant Leadership efforts with what Jesus modeled, and to constantly seek ways to be a servant first and a leader second with the people I encounter in my leadership responsibilities.”

What Ken Blanchard means by “solitude” and “Servant Leadership” is not what it may sound like. Blanchard, who wrote the foreword to a book called What Would Buddha Do at Work?, has consistently promoted New Age mysticism books for over twenty years. And the term Servant Leadership suggests that Jesus is more of model whom we can follow as opposed to a Lord and Savior. While Blanchard says that Jesus is his Savior, he continues to promote the New Age. To this day, he still sits on the advisory council of the Hoffman Institute, an ultra New Age think tank and resource center for New Agers.  We do not believe Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus program is a good fit for Awana, that is supposed to be ministering biblical truth to children.

The Lead Like Jesus Encounter is largely based on Blanchard’s book, Lead Like Jesus, and that book does include contemplative elements. For instance, in the chapter called “The Habits of a Servant Leader” a palms-up, palms-down exercise is described (something Richard Foster has encouraged)(p. 158). The book gives a typical instruction on contemplative:

Before we send people off for their period of solitude, we have them recite with us Psalm 46:10 in this way: Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be…. When people return from their time of solitude, they have big smiles on their faces. While many of them found it difficult to quiet their mind, they say it was a powerful experience. The reality is most of us spend little if any time in solitude. Yet if we don’t, how can God have a chance to talk with us?

Blanchard participated in the Hoffman Process and said it made his spirituality come alive. We believe this experience he had through Hoffman is similar to what Blanchard refers to in his Lead Like Jesus book, when he says people who “quiet their mind[s]” during the Lead Like Jesus Encounter have “powerful experience[s].” This means that now children and families in Awana could possibly wind up with the same experience.

Blanchard, who has been a professing Christian since the 1980s, wrote the foreword for a 2001 book titled What Would Buddha Do at Work?. In the book, Blanchard said:

“Buddha points to the path and invites us to begin our journey to enlightenment. I … invite you to begin your journey to enlightened work.”

Blanchard has made numerous other similar statements about other books. After a 2005 report by Lighthouse Trails exposed his connection with Rick Warren, Blanchard placed a statement on a page of his website for a short time that said some of his previous endorsements had been wrong. However, since that time, the endorsements have continued, including his connection with the Hoffman Institute. One example of his continued endorsement of meditation practices is his back-cover statement on Jon Gordon’s 2006 book, 10-Minute Energy Solution, in which Gordon makes several favorable references to eastern-style meditators and the practice itself (see ATOD, pp. 164-165). Another example is Blanchard’s June 2006 endorsement of Thom Crum’s book, Three Deep Breaths.

Amazingly, in the book that inspired the Lead Like Jesus Encounter that Awana is using, Blanchard acknowledges Norman Vincent Peale’s role in his spiritual walk. According to Ray Yungen (For Many Shall Come in My Name – p. 47), Peale had strong New Thought connections. This could partly explain Blanchard’s leanings toward the New Age.

In the past, we have written other articles about Awana. One was showing their promotion of Youth Specialties. The other was pointing to their affiliation with Willow Creek. Affiliation with these two organizations could explain how Awana has been drifting toward contemplative.[Both Youth Specialties and Willow Creek are on our 50 top Contemplative organizations list.]

Ken Blanchard, Norman Vincent Peale, Richard Foster, Youth Specialties, and Willow Creek – these cannot help Awana lead children in a direction pleasing to the Lord.

While some may say our strength in this article is inappropriate – after all, look at all the good that Awana has done – it is done with the utmost love and concern for the children being taught through Awana. Strong yes, hateful no. We beseech Awana leaders to consider these requests to both educate their leaders and have Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation recalled and end their partnership with Lead Like Jesus. Without these two things taking place, it will be difficult to alleviate grave concerns over the future welfare of Awana.

Note: Awana has removed the Youth Specialties link from their 24-7 Ministries site. However, they have now formed a partnership with Student Leadership University. SLU, which encourages students to take a “20 year quantum leap,”  is an organization that uses the materials of Ken Blanchard and Ron Luce (Teen Mania – see our article, “Teen Mania Goes Contemplative“).


2011 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 1 – Top 10 Book and Film Reviews

This is the first posting of several covering our 2011 YEAR IN REVIEW. In this first posting, we are listing the top ten book and film reviews that we covered in 2011. Other categories will follow over the next several days.  While we realize it is very difficult to read everything that comes from Lighthouse Trails, we hope you will look over our YEAR IN REVIEW postings to see what you may have missed in these important stories.

1. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (review by LT)

2. Love Wins by Rob Bell (review by Berit Kjos)

3. Prayers for Today: A yearlong journey in contemplative prayer by Kurt Bjorklund (review by LT)

4. Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna (review by LT)

5. Harry Potter’s Last Battle (film) (review by Berit Kjos)

6. The New Evangelicalism by Paul Smith (review by LT)

7. Love Wins by Rob Bell (review by Steve Blackwell)

8. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (review by Bob DeWaay)

9. Hellbound (film) (review by Mike Stanwood)

10. 25 Books Every Christian Should Read by Richard Foster (review by LT)

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