Posts Tagged ‘n.t. wright’

KIDS AT RISK: Letter to the Editor: AWANA Continuing Down the Emergent Road

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

A while back I alerted you to the fact that Awana was joining forces with Josh Griffin who was the youth pastor for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. Josh Griffin is also associated with Youth Specialties, an organization that promotes occult [contemplative] practices to youth.

Awana - Kids at Risk

bigstockphoto

Unfortunately, Awana is continuing down the emergent road. Here are some examples:

1. On February 22, 2017, Steve Kozak, the executive director of Awana YM, (Youth Ministries) wrote a blog post encouraging youth leaders to promote Lent. Lent is very popular among those in the emerging church. Wikipedia says “The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, and self-denial.”(1) Kozak in his blog said, “Teach your students to go without, so that they can experience an overflowing of Christ.”(2) Nowhere in the Bible is the practice of Lent mentioned.

2. On April 6, 2017, Awana YM held a youth leaders round table event at Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek Community Church. Participants were Josh Griffin, Sean McDowell, Dr. Larry Acosta, Elizabeth Bjorling Prest, Steve Kozak, (Director of Awana Youth Ministries) and Ryan Guard, (Director of Student Impact at Willow Creek Community Church.)(3)

3. Awana is promoting several books that they feel youth group leaders should be reading. The following books are a compilation from two different blog posts. I am not familiar with all the authors, but I know many of these authors to be troubling.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen [recommended by Sean McDowell]
The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Bloom Where You’re Planted by H.B. London
Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields with a forward by Rick Warren, published by Youth Specialties/Zondervan
Your First Two Years In Youth Ministry By Doug Fields, published by Youth Specialties/Zondervan
Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark Devries
Sticky Faith by Kara E. Powell, (Who spoke at the Youth Specialties National Convention) and co-authored by Chap Clark
Growing Young by Kara E. Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin
Leading With a Limp by Dan Allender
St. Augustine’s City of God (St. Augustine is very popular in the Emerging Church Movement)
Christian Origins of the Question of God (4 Volumes by N.T. Wright
The Holy Wild by Mark Buchanan(4)

Sincerely, L.F.

Footnotes:
1. Lent- Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent
2. Awana YM Lent: More Than Giving Up by Steve Kozak, February 22,2017 https://awanaym.org/blog/lent-more-than-giving-up
3. Awana YM
https://awanaym.org/events/youth-leaders-round-table-4-6-2017
4. Awana YM
(1)Books Youth Leaders Should Be Reading
April 7,2017; https://awanaym.org/blog/5-books-youth-leaders-should-be-reading

(2)Must Have Books For Every Youth Leader by Steve Kozak July 20,1017
https://awanaym.org/blog/6-must-have-books-for-every-youth-leader

Related Information:

Letter to the Editor: AWANA Now Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God

A History of AWANA’s Contemplative Track Record and the Implications of Their New CEO

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

Spiritual Formation—A Dangerous Substitute For the Life of Christ

Sometimes we think of spiritual formation as formation by the Holy Spirit. Once again. That’s essential. . . . But now I have to say something that may be challenging for you to think about: Spiritual formation is not all by the Holy Spirit. . . . We have to recognize that spiritual formation in us is something that is also done to us by those around us, by ourselves, and by activities which we voluntarily undertake . . .There has to be method.1—Dallas Willard

bigstockphoto.com (a monastery)

bigstockphoto.com

Aside from the fact that Spiritual Formation incorporates mystical practices into its infrastructure (remove the contemplative aspect and you don’t have “Spiritual Formation” anymore), Spiritual Formation is a works-based substitute for biblical Christianity. Let us explain.

When one becomes born again (“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” (Romans 10:9-10), having given his or her life and heart over to Christ as Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ says He will come in and live in that surrendered heart:

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)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

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)

[I]f 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 8:11; emphasis added)

When God, through Jesus Christ, is living in us, He begins to do a transforming work in our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:18). Not only does He change us, He also communes with us. In other words, we have fellowship with Him, and He promises never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

This life of God in the believer’s heart is not something we need to conjure up through meditative practices. But if a person does not have this relationship with the Lord, he may seek out ways to feel close to God. This is where Spiritual Formation comes into play. Rather than a surrendered life to Christ, the seeking person begins practicing the spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, fasting, good works, etc.) with the promise that if he practices these disciplines, he will become more Christ-like.

But merely doing these acts fails to make one feel close to God—something is still missing. And thus, he begins practicing the discipline of silence (or solitude), and now in these altered states of silence, he finally feels connected to God. He now feels complete. What he does not understand is that he has substituted the indwelling of Christ in his heart for a works-based methodology that endangers his spiritual life. Dangerous because these mystical experiences he now engages in appear to be good because they make him feel close to God, but in reality he is being drawn into demonic realms no different than what happens to someone who is practicing transcendental meditation or eastern meditation. Even mystics themselves acknowledge that the contemplative realm is no different than the realm reached by occultists. To understand this more fully, please read Ray Yungen’s book A Time of Departing.

Bottom line, it is not possible to be truly Christ-like without having Christ inside of us because it is He who is able to change our hearts—we cannot do it without Him.

It is interesting to note that virtually every contemplative teacher has a common theme—they feel dry and empty and want to go “deeper” with God or “become more intimate” with God. But if we have Christ living in us, how can we go any deeper than that? How can we become more intimate than that? And if going deeper and becoming intimate were so important, why is it that none of the disciples or Jesus Himself ever told us to do this? As Larry DeBruyn states:

Why are Christians seeking a divine presence that Jesus promised would abundantly flow in them? . . . Why do they need another voice, another visitation, or another vision? Why are some people unthankfully desirous of “something more” than what God has already given to us? Why is it that some Christians, in the depth of their souls, are not seemingly at rest?2

Is There a “Good” Spiritual Formation?
One of the most common arguments we hear defending Spiritual Formation is that there is a “good” Spiritual Formation done without contemplative prayer. To that we say, we have never yet seen a Spiritual Formation program in a school or a church that doesn’t in some way point people to the contemplative mystics. It might be indirectly, but in every case, if you follow the trail, it will lead you right into the arms of Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and other contemplative teachers.

Think about this common scenario: A Christian college decides to begin a Spiritual Formation course. The instructor has heard some negative things about Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning, and he figures he will teach the class good Spiritual Formation and leave those teachers completely out. But he’s going to need a textbook. He turns to a respected institution, Dallas Theological Seminary, and finds a book written by Paul Pettit, Professor in Pastoral and Education Ministries. The book is titled Foundations of Spiritual Formation. The instructor who has found this book to use in his own class may never mention Richard Foster or Dallas Willard, but the textbook he is using does. Within the pages of Pettit’s book is Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, N.T. Wright, Dallas Willard, Thomas Aquinas, Lectio Divina, Ayn Rand, Parker Palmer, Eugene Peterson, J.P. Moreland, Klaus Issler, Bruce Dermerst, Jim Burns, Kenneth Boa and Brother Lawrence’s “practicing God’s presence.” You may not have heard of all these names, but they are all associated with the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church.

Another example of this is Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Whitney is Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While his book does not promote contemplative mysticism, he says that Richard Foster has “done much good”3 in the area of Christian spirituality.

Our point is that even if there is a sincere attempt to teach Spiritual Formation and stay away from the mystical side, we contend that it cannot be successfully accomplished because it will always lead back to the ones who have brought it to the church in the first place.

Spiritual formation is sweeping quickly throughout Christianity today. It’s no wonder when the majority of Christian leaders have either endorsed the movement or given it a silent pass. For instance, in Chuck Swindoll’s book So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get Your There, Swindoll favorably quotes Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Swindoll calls Celebration of Discipline a “meaningful work”4 and Willard’s book The Spirit of the Disciplines “excellent work.”5 In chapter three,”Silence and Solitude,” Swindoll talks about “digging for secrets . . . that will deepen our intimacy with God.”6 Quoting the contemplative poster-verse Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” Swindoll says the verse is a call to the “discipline of silence.”7 As other contemplative proponents have done, he has taken this verse very much out of context.

Roger Oakland sums it up:

The Spiritual Formation movement . . . teaches people that this is how they can become more intimate with God and truly hear His voice. Even Christian leaders with longstanding reputations of teaching God’s word seem to be succumbing. . . .

We are reconciled to God only through his “death” (the atonement for sin), and we are presented “holy and unblameable and unreproveable” when we belong to Him through rebirth. It has nothing to do with works, rituals, or mystical experiences. It is Christ’s life in the converted believer that transforms him.8

What Christians need is not a method or program or ritual or practice  that will supposedly connect them to God. What we need is to be “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:30) and Christ in us. And He has promised His Spirit “will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13).

In Colossians 1:9, the apostle Paul tells the saints that he was praying for them that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” He was praying that they would have discernment (“spiritual understanding”). He said that God, the Father, has made us “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (vs 12) and had “delivered us from the power of darkness [i.e., power of deception]” (vs. 13). But what was the key to having this wisdom and spiritual understanding and being delivered from the power of darkness? Paul tells us in that same chapter. He calls it “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” (vs. 26). What is that mystery? Verse 27 says: “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.”

For those wanting to get involved with the Spiritual Formation movement (i.e., contemplative, spiritual direction), consider the “direction” you will actually be going.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2: 8-10)

To order copies of Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t), click here.

Endnotes:
1. Dallas Willard, “Spiritual Formation: What it is, and How it is Done” (http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=58).
2. Larry DeBruyn, “The Practice of His Presence”
3. Donald Whitney, “Doctrine and Devotion: A Reunion Devoutly to be Desired” (http://web.archive.org/web/20080828052145/http://biblicalspirituality.org/devotion.html).
4. Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get You There (Nashville, TN:W Publishing Group, a div. of Thomas Nelson, 2005), p. 15.
5. Ibid., p. 13.
6. Ibid., p. 55.
7. Ibid.
8. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone, op. cit., pp. 91-92.

This has been an extract from our booklet Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t). To order this booklet, click here.

A Vital Question: Is There a “Good” Spiritual Formation?

Kariba Dam between Zambia and ZimbabweOne of the most common arguments we hear defending Spiritual Formation is that there is a “good” Spiritual Formation done without contemplative prayer. To that we say, we have never yet seen a Spiritual Formation program in a school or a church that doesn’t in some way point people to the contemplative mystics. It might be indirectly, but in every case, if you follow the trail, it will lead you right into the arms of Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and other contemplative teachers.

Think about this common scenario: A Christian college decides to begin a Spiritual Formation course. The instructor has heard some negative things about Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning, and he figures he will teach the class good Spiritual Formation and leave those teachers completely out. But he’s going to need a textbook. He turns to a respected institution, Dallas Theological Seminary, and finds a book written by Paul Pettit, Professor in Pastoral and Education Ministries. The book is titled Foundations of Spiritual Formation. The instructor who has found this book to use in his own class may never mention Richard Foster or Dallas Willard, but the textbook he is using does. Within the pages of Pettit’s book is Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, N.T. Wright, Dallas Willard, Thomas Aquinas, Lectio Divina, Ayn Rand, Parker Palmer, Eugene Peterson, J.P. Moreland, Klaus Issler, Bruce Dermerst, Jim Burns, Kenneth Boa and Brother Lawrence’s “practicing God’s presence.” You may not have heard of all these names, but they are all associated with the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church.

Another example of this is Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Whitney is Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While his book does not promote contemplative mysticism, he says that Richard Foster has “done much good”31 in the area of Christian spirituality.

Our point is that even if there is a sincere attempt to teach Spiritual Formation and stay away from the mystical side, we contend that it cannot be successfully accomplished because it will always lead back to the ones who have brought it to the church in the first place.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2: 8-10)

This is an excerpt from our booklet Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t), click here.

In Case You Still Aren’t Sure About The Shack and Its Author . . .

In case you still aren’t sure about William Paul Young and his book The Shack—in case you still have some doubts as to whether Young is really of a New Age/New Spirituality persuasion—in case after reading articles at Lighthouse Trails revealing Young’s anti-biblical views on atonement and the Cross—and in case after reading Warren B. Smith’s booklet The Shack and Its New Age Leaven that documents Young’s affinity with New Age thinking, then perhaps his recently posted “Twenty Books Everyone Should Read” list on Young’s blog will convince you that The Shack or any of Young’s writings should not be sitting on the shelves of Christian bookstores and North American pastors’ offices and should never have become a New York Times best-seller having found itself there through primarily Christian readers (not to mention the big plug it received from endorsements by Eugene Peterson [The Message] and Calvary Chapel speaker Gayle Erwin. You can see the entire list of Young’s recommended books by clicking here. Below we are giving you a partial list of the authors whom William P. Young recommends. After looking at this list, you decide for yourself.

1. Andrew Marin’s book Love is an Orientation (foreword by atonement denier Brian McLaren): A treatise on how to fully integrate the practicing homosexual “community” into the Christian church.

2. The Shack Revisited by C Baxter Kruger, a book advertising the “virtues” of The Shack with a Suggestions for Further Study at the back that is a who’s who of emerging authors.

3. Mystic Frederick Buechner’s book The Yellow Leaves

4. Brian D. McLaren’s, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: McLaren is one the foremost prolific leaders of the panentheistic, interspiritual emerging church, which is still very much active today, influencing vast numbers of young evangelicals.

5. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by emerging church hero N.T. Wright

6. Her Gates will Never be Shut: Hope, Hell, and the New Jerusalem by contemplative proponent Brad Jersak (author of Can You Hear Me?)

7. Jean Vanier’s book Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John: Roger Oakland wrote about Jean Vanier in his article “Rick Warren, Jean Vanier, And The New Evangelization.” Oakland’s article states:

Vanier is a contemplative mystic who promotes interspiritual and interfaith beliefs, calling the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi “one of the greatest prophets of our times”[3] and “a man sent by God.”[4] In the book Essential Writings, Vanier talks about “opening doors to other religions” and helping people develop their own faiths be it Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam.[5]  The book also describes how Vanier read Thomas Merton and practiced and was influenced by the spiritual exercises of the Jesuit founder and mystic St. Ignatius.

8. Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer: As we have documented for over 13 years, Henri Nouwen was a Catholic contemplative  mystic and interspiritualist.

9.  William P. Young recommends reading material by the following three Catholic mystics and panentheists: Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, and Richard Rohr.

One of the things that most of these authors have in common is their contemplative and interspiritual propensities. Given the fact that William P. Young, in the past, denied the substitutionary atonement, we can see why he is drawn to these authors. But what we can’t understand is how so many professing Christians are drawn to him and The Shack and it’s New Age spirituality.

Letter to the Editor: Please Add William Jessup University to the Contemplative Colleges List—Introducing Students to Emerging Figures

Hello Lighthouse Trails:

Our daughter is a junior in high school and has been receiving college flyers in the mail from secular as well as “Christian” universities. She received the following flyer in a packet.William Jessup University flyer and have attached it as it mentioned “Spiritual Formation Groups” that are used to “reconcile issues surrounding faith.”

When our daughter first received information from this university several months ago, I looked up on your website to see if it was a school using questionable New Age ideas. I did not see anything on William Jessup University, so I kept an open mind and thought maybe this one might be OK. Apparently not, so I am sending you this information so you can possibly add it to your list.

Thank you for the great work you do to inform Christians.

A concerned parent

OUR COMMENTS:

Thank you for alerting us to the contemplative/emerging affinities of William Jessup University. According to the WJU website, the mission of the university states: “In partnership with the Church, the purpose of William Jessup University is to educate transformational leaders for the glory of God.” The 130 acre campus is located in Rocklin, California, and in 2014 the school had nearly 1400 students with growth having doubled in three years.1

As our reader above has stated, the school, unfortunately, has been integrating Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) into the life of the students. For example, emergent-ideas promoter N.T. Wright will be speaking at the school on May 28th 2015. The lecture is being presented by WJU’s Bible & Theology Department.

Another example of the direction William Jessup University is going can be seen with a January 2015 William Jessup Chapel service that presented emergent activist Shane Claiborne. Claiborne is a disciple of Tony Campolo and shares his ideas and beliefs, many of which contradict Scripture. Not surprisingly, WJU’s chapel is titled Deeper Jessup Chapel. Deeper is a term often used in association with the contemplative prayer movement.

In another WJU chapel service this year,  Carl Medearis, author of Muslims, Christians, and Jesus spoke. According to a World Magazine article, Medearis is:

 . . . an advocate of several ideas associated with the “insider movement” . . . The movement generally questions the need for outward “conversion” to Christianity as long as someone has a personal relationship with Christ, and “contextualizes” Christian teaching and practice for Muslim cultures by finding common ground between the two.

What Medearis is advocating is called the “new” missiology. Roger Oakland discusses this new way of doing missions in his book Faith Undone: the emerging church—a new reformation or an end-time deception. Sad to see Medearis addressing students at William Jessup University. Most likely the founder of WJU would be dismayed to see the direction his school has gone. Other chapel speakers this year include bridger Francis Chan and contemplative proponent J.P. Moreland. It looks like students at William Jessup University are getting a dose full of “new” spirituality teachings during chapel. Needless to say, WJU is now being added to Lighthouse Trails’ Contemplative Colleges List.

COLLEGE ALERT: Letters to Lighthouse Trails Prove Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta) Has Gone Emergent

It is with deep concern that the following information is being presented to warn believers who are looking for a good Christian college to attend or in which to send their children.

Several years ago (2007), Lighthouse Trails posted an article about Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada that started out like this:

Prairie Bible Institute, a renown Bible college in Alberta, Canada, is showing strong signs that it is going in a contemplative direction. A concerned parent contacted Lighthouse Trails and told us about a Servant (the college magazine ministry) article that quoted New Age/goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. Unfortunately, this is not the only indication that the college may be succumbing to contemplative spirituality.

Our article also stated:

[T]he college seems to be caught up in the wave of mystical spirituality that is sweeping through the evangelical church. For instance, on the Prairie Bible Institute website, Professor Ritchie White lists a collection of writers of whom he says “have shaped both my mind and my heart in significant ways.” Three of those are Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, and Annie Dillard, all of whom have contemplative orientations. Prairie music instructor Vernon Charter uses a textbook by the late emerging church leader, Robert Webber (see Faith Undone). Charter’s list of Supplementary Books includes emergent leader Dan Kimball (The Emerging Church) and other books by Webber.

In addition to White’s book lists, Prairie Christian Academy (a ministry of PBI) teacher and former PBI instructor Dr. Steven Ibbotson teaches on the spiritual disciplines and includes the discipline of “Silence and Solitude.”

Then in 2010, Lighthouse Trails received a letter from a reader explaining that the school was looking for a new president, and word was that this was going to help PBI get back on the right path. That letter stated:

I was wondering if you had ever been told about the alumni from Prairie Bible College who have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church?  One young woman, whose father is on senior staff at Prairie, converted to the Orthodox Church after being convinced by another recent convert.  Also, another was a prominent student there (a Residence Assitant and on the Student Council leadership) also dabbles in Anglo-Catholicism and contemplative forms of prayer.  These things were encouraged, apparently, by various professors and in most of their course books.  This school is a hot bed for fostering seeds of Ancient Christian Mysticism, but is trying to make itself come across as being more conservative theologically with the recent resignation of President Dr. Jon Olhauser.  I read your piece on Prairie already, but so much has developed since then, it would be good to research and publish again–something is really happening there and should be looked in to.

The new president turned out to be Mark Maxwell, grandson to the founder of the school. L.E. Maxwell. In a statement, soon after his appointment, Maxwell stated:

This is not about me. It’s about honouring the great tradition of a school that has for 88 years brought God’s Word to life around the world. At this point we need to focus time, attention, and resources on revitalizing our campus and rebuilding our Bible College program. We want to fill our dorms and classrooms by offering programs that will challenge and provide a foundation for life-long learning. Our constituency and churches can be a real help to us in communicating our renewed emphasis on Bible training. (source)

After Maxwell’s appointment to president of PBI, readers wrote to us and said let’s wait and see now if this new president can turn things around. So we waited. Five years to be exact. Then in February of 2015, Lighthouse Trails received the following letter:

 Was looking for something else when I came across this.  Haven’t checked what you have lately about Prairies Bible Institute but here is a bit of info to back up what you say, if you haven’t seen it already.  They have been into emergent church for quite some time.Thanks for your continued diligence. E K. [The following sent to us by E.K. is a book review written by PBI’s Kelly Steffen (PBI Director of Student Development) in 2014. The book reviewed is by major contemplative figure Peter Scazzero:

“Recently one of my students came into my office with a gift.  He said, ‘I have something for you that I think you will enjoy.’ The gift was a small devotional reading called, Daily Office: Remembering God’s Presence Throughout the Day by Peter Scazzero, published by Willow.  This book was timely as it is something that I have been trying to incorporate into my daily life. Scazzero’s introduction begins with these words, ‘Most Christians today are struggling- especially when it comes to spending quiet time with God. You may be one of them.  I thought… wow, he’s right, I do struggle and I am one of them. I better check what this devotional is all about.

“The word ‘Office,’ Scazzero suggests comes from ‘opus’ or work in Latin. He further articulates that ‘for the early church, the Daily Office was always the “work of God.” Each Office in the book has these elements: Silence, Stillness and Centering, Scripture, Devotional Reading, Question to Consider and Prayer. The Offices can be used in a group setting as well. The big idea says the author, is to create a rhythm of being with God.’

Well it has been a couple of weeks in the Daily Office.  I have engaged in the Daily Office personally, with another student and unpacked a reading for my Impact Huddle- a regular meeting with my small group leaders.  I have had a good time in the practice and presence of the Daily Office.
This book has rekindled rich times of Silence and Stillness, Scripture, Devotional Reading and Prayer. There have been times, mind you, that Scripture has sufficed on its own without the additional devotional tagged on the back. The big idea of rhythm is really the key.  I heard today on the radio that latest research says, it takes twenty one days to form a habit.  If your habit is not having a devotional life, may I suggest that the Daily Office may be a remedy that you want to check out.”

For an influential faculty member of Prairie Bible Institute to write such a review shows clearly that the school has delved into contemplative spirituality. To back up that statement, PBI also has a Spiritual Formation program. And the 2014 and 2015 textbook lists include books by Brian McLaren, Tim Keller, Richard Foster, John Stackhouse, N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways where Thomas instructs readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes), Mark Yaconelli, and Catholic convert Peter Kreeft. There are also textbooks in the list that include social justice/new missiology themes throughout. Basically, PBI’s textbook lists are a who’s who of emergent/contemplative/new spirituality authors.

This week, to top this whole picture off, we received the following letter, giving a perfect example of the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality—interspirituality:

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

It has come to my attention that Prairie Bible Institute at Three Hills, Alberta, Canada has recently held an event inviting a Roman Catholic bishop to speak to faculty and students.

My husband and I were present when President Mark Maxwell publicly confessed to the school drifting away from its foundational biblical roots and and prayed a prayer of repentance, stating it would return to a greater emphasis on God’s Word. We were hopeful, and yet skeptical at the same time. It appears that the compromise is continuing as the involve themselves in the ecumenical movement.

Below is the link, with the details copied from their website.

Keep up the good work! Blessings in Christ,

B.K.

http://www.prairie.edu/consider

From PBI’s website:

Hear the Cry of the Poor: Catholic and Evangelical Dimensions of a Gospel Response

Consider Lectures exist to inspire dialogue on a variety of topics and are open to our student body, our staff and faculty, and anyone else who would like to be inspired and challenged in their thinking. This spring, Prairie is pleased to host Bishop Henry as he shares insights on how Catholics and Evangelicals can find common ground in hearing and presenting a Gospel response to the needs of the poor.

Pope Francis recently called Catholics to participate in ecumenical initiatives with Evangelicals. While this is a new development, Bishop Henry’s visit comes as part of his ongoing commitment to developing constructive ecumenical relations with evangelicals. This can be seen in his ongoing relationship with the Calgary Evangelical Ministerial Association, his participation in the 2014 conference ‘Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s mission together’ hosted by Ambrose University College, and his continued work in promoting shared biblical values on key moral issues at the forefront of Canadian civic life.

The Most Reverend Fred Henry has been Bishop for the RC Diocese of Calgary since 1998. Prior to that he has held the position of Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario and served as fourth Bishop of Thunder Bay from 1995 to 1998.  In addition to his responsibilities in the Diocese of Calgary, Bishop Henry is a member of a number of commissions of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops related to education, healthcare and medical ethics.

LT CONCLUSION: For those parents and grandparents looking for a Christian college to send their young people to, Prairie Bible Institute is NOT a good choice. While the pickings are getting slimmer all the time with regard to Christian colleges, there are still schools out there that are not introducing their students to the likes of Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, Peter Kreeft, Gary Thomas, Pete Scazzero etc. and which are not joining up with the Catholic Church to “present the Gospel to a dying world.” How can evangelicals and Catholics do that when the Catholic “Gospel” is not the Gospel according to the Word of God (see Ironside on What is the Gospel?). Prairie Bible Institute has done a great disservice to the body of Christ and has put young students in terrible harm’s way. PBI leadership needs to seriously re-evaluate the biblical foundation of their school. Interspirituality is not biblical.


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