Posts Tagged ‘pope francis’
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much, click here.
Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much
By Roger Oakland
In 2014, Rick Warren (called “America’s Pastor) was interviewed by Catholic T.V. network host Raymond Arroyo. The interview took place at the Saddleback Church campus and was posted on YouTube by EWTN in April of 2014. Because I had written previously in 2013 about Rick Warren’s connections to Rome and to the Catholic convert Tony Blair (former prime minister of Britain), I was very aware that Rick Warren was heading down the path toward Rome. But not until I saw this interview did I realize just how far he has gone in that direction.
When I wrote the 2013 commentary titled “What is Next for Rick Warren?,” I provided evidence to show that Warren and Britain’s prime minister Tony Blair were partnering together with the Roman Catholic Church to form a P.E.A.C.E. Plan that would lead toward the creation of a global religion in the name of Christ. While many who read that commentary were skeptical that such a Warren-Rome connection existed, the 2014 interview clearly reveals it does.
EWTN made this statement about the interview on their YouTube station:
Part II of our exclusive interview: Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Rick talks about the expansion of his ministry abroad, the Vatican delegation that recently came to Orange County to study his church’s style of evangelization, and which television channel he finds himself watching most often and the show that draws him.1
If you have access to the Internet, I highly recommend you watch the entire thirty-minute interview as it is filled with information that provides further insight into Rick Warren’s pathway to Rome—one he has actually been supporting for quite some time. For instance, in 2005, Warren created the Purpose Driven Life Catholics program. And in his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life (released in 2002), Warren makes several favorable references to well-known Catholics: page 88 (Brother Lawrence, a Catholic mystic); page 108 (Catholic priest and contemplative mystic, Henri Nouwen and Catholic panentheist St. John of the Cross); and twice he mentions Mother Theresa (pages 125 and 231).
But in this EWTN interview, Warren takes his views of the Catholic Church to even “greater” heights and admits he is in favor of the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program (set up to win the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church).2
The Warren-Arroyo Interview
What did he say?! This is exactly the direction we predicted he would go! It will be crucial that skeptics hear and see this interview. These were the thoughts running through my head when I first watched the EWTN interview with Rick Warren and Raymond Arroyo. The comments by Rick Warren in response to Arroyo’s questions were stunning. They left no room for doubt in my mind—Warren is marching towards ecumenical unity with Rome, and it has become clearer than it ever was before.
The interview opened with the following question by Arroyo:
The Purpose Driven Life is the best-selling book in the world—36 million plus copies. It’s been translated more than any book except the Bible. What is the key to that success? Why were so many people touched by that book and continue to be?3
To Arroyo’s question, Warren responded:
You know, Ray, there is not a single new thought in Purpose Driven Life that hadn’t been said for 2,000 years. I’ve just said it in a fresh way. I said it in a simple way. When I was writing Purpose Driven Life it took me seven months, twelve hours a day. I’d get up at 4:30 in the morning. I’d go to a little study. Start at 5 a.m. I was fasting til noon, and I would light some candles, and I would start writing and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. One of the things I did before I wrote the book was, um, I’d ask the question—How do you write a book that lasts 500 years? For instance, um, Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis, Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Ok? The Desert Fathers, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila. All of these great, classic devotional works. Any one of them—I just realized that in order to be timeless you have to be eternal.4
Warren’s answer certainly provides some understanding as to where his spiritual affinities lie, and it associates him with the Catholic contemplative prayer movement brought into the evangelical church through Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Interestingly, in Warren’s first book, The Purpose Driven Church, he identified (and promoted) Foster and Willard as key players in that movement.5
In the interview with Raymond Arroyo, Warren’s exalting of the writers he refers to is disconcerting to say the least. They are all mystics. Brother Lawrence talked of “dancing violently like a mad man” when he went “into the presence.”6 Teresa of Avila levitated and often wrote about her numerous esoteric mystical experiences.7 St. John of the Cross (author of the contemplative favorite, Dark Night of the Soul) was panenthestic in his belief that God was in all creation.8 The Desert Fathers were ancient hermits and monks who embraced the mystical prayer practices of those from pagan religions.
For Rick Warren to list the writings of these Catholic mystics as “great” insinuating they are “eternal” is more than revealing. The Bible is the inspired word of God. As the apostle Paul states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). While the Bible is great and is eternal, the books written by Roman Catholic mystics are the works of fallible humans who were misled by the fallen spiritual dimension. They can promote doctrines of demons and lead Bible believers away from the faith.
Raymond Arroyo then asked Rick Warren the following question:
What is your secret to reaching people every day, every week, not only in your writing but when they speak to you? What is it? What is this communication gift, if you will, if you could decode, because a lot of preachers would like to know.9
While Warren mentions Pope Francis several times throughout the interview with the EWTN host, he answers this question by directing attention to the pope, stating:
Well, the main thing is love always reaches people. Authenticity, humility. Pope Francis is the perfect example of this. He is a—He is doing everything right. You see, people will listen to what we say if they like what they see. And as our new pope, he was very, very symbolic in, you know, his first mass with people with AIDS, uh, his kissing of the deformed man, his loving the children. This authenticity, this humility, the caring for the poor, this is what the whole world expects us Christians to do. And when we—when they go, oh, that’s what a Christian does—In fact, there was a headline here in Orange County—and I love the headline. It said, if you love Pope Francis, you’ll love Jesus. That was the headline! I showed it to a group of priests I was speaking to awhile back.10 (emphasis added)
While loving others is a quality all Christians should embrace and promote, using Pope Francis as the perfect example seems somewhat opportunistic. For Rick Warren to call Pope Francis “our new pope” suggests that Rick Warren has accepted the pope not only as the head of the Catholic Church but as the head of the Christian church as well. Either Rick Warren believes that or he was indeed being opportunistic.
His comments about the Orange County headline, “If You Love Pope Francis, You’ll love Jesus,” is no less reason for scrutiny. Can you imagine the apostle Paul referring to the head of a false religion as “our” leader and comparing this false teacher to Jesus Christ.
Rick Warren, Religious Liberty, and Catholics & Evangelicals Together
It is a well-known fact, based on Bible prophecy, that the last-days one-world religion called the “harlot” will be a counterfeit to the true church, which is the Bride of Christ. Bible scholars who take this position believe the ecumenical gathering of religions together for the cause of peace will be the prerequisite. One of the key events bringing this about is when a declaration is made that the Reformation is over, and the “separated brethren” will be welcomed back into the fold (i.e., the Catholic Church).
This booklet you are reading deals with aspects of the Rick Warren-Raymond Arroyo EWTN interview that provide some significant clues indicating this scenario is presently underway. I am making reference to a portion of the interview that deals with the topic of religious liberty. In fact, it was revealed that Rick Warren may have a plan laid away for the future of promoting a “religious liberty movement” that will be the equivalent of the “civil liberties movement” of the past. When Raymond Arroyo asked Rick Warren what he thought about the separation of church and state and how the Supreme Court would rule on this topic in the future, Warren responded:
Now it’s interesting that phrase today means the exact opposite of what it meant in Jefferson’s days. Today people think it means keeping religion out of government or out of politics. But actually, the separation of church and state was we are going to protect the church from the government. I believe that religious liberty may be the civil rights issue of the next decade. And if it takes some high profile pastors going to jail, like Martin Luther King did with civil rights, I’m in. So be it. I mean, as Peter said and the apostles that we must obey God rather than men.11 (emphasis added)
It may seem surprising to some that “America’s Pastor” would be so outspoken and willing to take such a strong stand for religious liberty—especially when he shows his passion for this topic by stating he is personally willing to go to jail for such a cause. These are passionate words. Does this mean that the Purpose Driven Church model may have a broader agenda than previously advertised?
Arroyo then asks Warren:
Do you think events like this, moments like this, are actually sources of unity and moments of unity, particularly for Catholics and Evangelicals?12
When I first listened to Warren’s response, I was somewhat surprised by what he said. However, after thinking about it further and comparing his answer with other statements Warren previously made about his willingness to work together with various faiths and belief systems for the common cause of good, his response made perfect sense. Warren states:
Well, obviously we have so much in common in protecting our religious rights—and really the religious rights of other people who we disagree with on beliefs and behaviors. Muslims, for instance, don’t drink alcohol. If all of a sudden they made a law that said every Muslim restaurant has to serve alcohol, I would be there protesting with that. If they made a law that said every Jewish deli in New York City has to sell pork, I’m going to be there protesting. I don’t have a problem with pork. But I am going to protest that. If they make a law that says every Catholic school has to provide contraceptives, if you’re morally convinced you shouldn’t have contraceptives, I stand with you, firm with you on your belief on that because you have a right to train your children the way you want to.13
It is difficult to challenge Warren’s argument as he states his case. Religious freedom is a major pillar that America was founded upon. To attack religious freedom or rights could well spark a religious liberty movement if this is the direction political leaders are headed.
However, it is also possible that a so-called “religious liberty” movement championed by America’s Pastor, who is willing to go to jail for standing up for the religious rights of all religions, could be a stepping stone to something else. Especially when it is so obvious this would be another effective way to join evangelicals and Catholics together, the current common trend is going that direction wtih each passing day.
While it may be a stretch to suggest Rick Warren will become the pied piper who unites all the world religions for a common cause, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Warren could be a major spokesperson for persuading evangelicals to join together with Roman Catholics. This whole movement has been in place for some time and has received endorsements from such well-known leaders as Bill Bright, J. I. Packer, and Charles Colson.
In the past, Rick Warren has made numerous statements about his willingness to join forces with Rome in order to establish the kingdom of God here on earth. In a message Warren gave at the Pew Forum on Religion in Key West Florida, May 23, 2005, he stated:
Now when you get 25 percent of America, which is basically Catholic, and you get 28 to 29 percent of America which is evangelical together, that’s called a majority. And it is a very powerful bloc, if they happen to stay together on particular issues. . . . I would encourage you to look at this evolving alliance between evangelical Protestants and Catholics.14
Without question, Warren’s “evolving alliance” with Rome has come a long way since he made this statement. The interview with Raymond Arroyo of EWTN is proof of that. When a pastor of Warren’s stature and influence refrains from warning his followers about the dangers found in the extra- and non-biblical teachings of Roman Catholicism, discerning Christians should not remain silent.
Rick Warren, Jean Vanier, and the New Evangelization
One significant revelation that was brought to light during the interview was that Rick Warren and Saddleback Church had hosted a delegation from Rome to discuss the New Evangelization program. According to the interview, a number of Roman Catholic delegates were observing the Warren-Saddleback Purpose-Driven model in order to gain ideas and insight for the Roman Catholic New Evangelization plan initiated by Pope John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. I have discussed this New Evangelization plan and the serious implications of it in several articles over the years as well as in my book Another Jesus: the eucharistic christ and the new evangelization.
With regard to the Catholic delegation visit to Saddleback, Raymond Arroyo asked Rick Warren the following question:
The Vatican recently sent a delegation here to Saddleback—the pontifical council—the academy for life. Tell me what they discovered and why did they come? This is a sizable group.15
Rick Warren enthusiastically answered:
They were about thirty bishops from Europe. One of the men had been actually trained and mentored by Jean Vanier, which is an interesting thing because we have a retreat center here and my spiritual director, who grew up at Saddleback, actually went and trained under Jean Vanier too. So I am very excited about that.16
While the term “spiritual director”* or the name Jean Vanier may not mean much to you unless you are versed on contemplative mystical spirituality, this admission by Warren provides conclusive evidence of his endorsement of Roman Catholic monastic mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer). The fact he mentions he has his “own” spiritual director located at Saddleback who was trained under the leadership of Jean Vanier is even more significant and further unveils Warren’s journey to Rome.
Let’s take a brief look now at Jean Vanier, the man who trained Rick Warren’s spiritual director. This will provide important insights. Vanier (b. 1928) is the Canadian Catholic founder of L’Arche, which is a humanitarian community for disabled people. It is L’Arche where Catholic priest Henri Nouwen spent the last ten years of his life. Vanier is a contemplative mystic who promotes interspirituality and interfaith beliefs, calling the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi “one of the greatest prophets of our times”17 and “a man sent by God.”18 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.19 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.
Now think about this. To learn through Rick Warren’s interview with Raymond Arroyo that Warren’s own “spiritual director” was trained under Jean Vanier is, at the very least, a key to understanding the long history where Rick Warren has expressed support for contemplative mystics and ecumenical/interspiritual efforts. In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he points out that both Rick and Kay Warren very much admire the writings of Henri Nouwen. As a matter of fact, Yungen has devoted an entire chapter to Rick Warren’s contemplative propensities including his instructions in The Purpose Driven Life on breath prayers. Now that Warren has revealed that his own spiritual director was trained under someone like Jean Vanier, we can better understand the direction Warren is heading.
The New Roman Catholic Evangelization
If the delegation sent to Saddleback from Rome consisted of thirty Bishops, obviously this was a very significant event. What were the delegates discussing with Warren and his team? Warren provides the answer to that question in the interview:
[T]hey were talking about the New Evangelization, and Saddleback has been very effective in reaching [the] secular mindset. Our church is 33 years old. Easter 2014 at Saddleback is our 34th anniversary. And in 34 years, we’ve baptized 38,000 adults. Now, these are adult converts. People with no religious background. People who say, “I was nothing before I came to Saddleback.” So we figured out a way to reach that mindset. And I fully support your Catholic Church’s New Evangelization which basically says we’ve got to re-evangelize people who are Christian in name but not in heart. And they need a new fresh relationship to our Savior.20 (emphasis added)
While Warren provides his stamp of approval on the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program and makes it sound like the purpose is to win converts to Christ, there is much more to the picture than Warren describes. The Roman Catholic New Evangelization program is dedicated to winning converts to the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Christ and obedience to the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. While Warren may call this “a new fresh relationship to our Savior,” he is overlooking what Catholics must believe in order to be a member of the Catholic Church. Either he is oblivious to this fact or he is ignorant of it. For a man who claims to be a voracious reader and who has a doctorate degree from a theological seminary, it’s hard to believe it’s the latter.
In a commentary I wrote called “Mysticism, Monasticism, and the New Evangelization,” I was able to document that contemplative mysticism provides the catalyst for the New Evangelization. Thus, Rome and Babylon join together to form a new ecumenical Christianity that fits the description of the harlot—the counterfeit bride—described in the book of Revelation, chapter 18.
The facts stare us in the face. Warren’s pathway to Rome is dangerous! Why do so few recognize what is happening? Do you know someone who is caught up in the deception but does not see what is going on? Maybe this would be a good time to pray God’s grace would open their eyes, and they would see the truth of God’s word.
Rick Warren and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Some who are reading this report may be asking the question: Why spend so much time and energy on this topic? What is wrong with “America’s Pastor” expressing his support for the Roman Catholic Church and what it stands for?
The answer is simple. Bible-believing Christians are called to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). When a Christian leader publicly makes statements or endorsements by saying or doing things that contradict the Bible, the leader needs to be addressed in a public manner so those who have been influenced can be put back on track. While many professing Christians who embrace full-blown ecumenical unity with Rome remain silent and see no harm with the direction Warren is heading, we are compelled to sound the alarm.
Thus far in this booklet, I have addressed several critical topics indicating Warren is headed down the road to Rome. Now, I would like to address what is possibly the most blatant endorsement of Roman Catholicism revealed in Warren’s entire interview with EWTN. It was so revealing that even Raymond Arroyo expressed surprise when he asked Warren to comment on the following topic:
Tell me about your—the little breather you take in the day when you watch television. When we first met, you came up to me afterwards—I can’t believe you watch Chaplet of Divine Mercy.21
In response to Arroyo’s comment, Rick Warren expounded:
I’m an avid fan of EWTN. I make no bones about it. I probably watch it more than any Christian channel. Well, you know what? Because you have more, more, uh, shows that relate to history. And if you don’t understand the roots of our faith, that God had been working for 2,000 years, regardless of what brand of believer you are, God has been working for 2,000 years in His church. And if you don’t have those roots, you’re like the cut flower syndrome. Or you’re a tumbleweed.22
If Warren’s main reason for watching the Roman Catholic Eternal Word Television Network is to gain a knowledge and understanding of Christian history, then there is no question he is getting a biased one-sided view. While I admit I do not watch EWTN as much as Warren apparently does (and certainly not for the same reasons), I do know that a major part of Christian history dealing with the Reformation and the Counter-reformation is not one of the favorite topics presented. Perhaps a quick review of Fox’s Book of Martyrs would be a good balance for Warren and a reminder of what happened to Christians who stood up against the pope of Rome and his Jesuit enforcers in the past for believing the Word of God rather than the word of man. People were burned at the stake for saying that Jesus could not be found in a wafer (the Eucharist).23
In the interview, Warren not only stated that EWTN was his favorite Christian television network, he further offered that he had a favorite program he and his wife watch regularly on that network. When I first watched the entire EWTN interview, it was the statement Warren made at this point that primarily motivated me to do this report. If Arroyo was shocked by this revelation, the best way to describe my reaction to his response would be astonished and angry. In Warren’s own words:
One of my favorite shows, which you repeat often is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which I love. And when I’ve had a very stressful day, I’ll come home, I’ve got it taped, and Kay and I will both, we’ll listen. We’ll put it on and just sit back, relax and worship. And in the time of reflection, meditation and quietness, I find myself renewed and restored. So thank you for continuing to play the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.24
Arroyo responds to Warren’s statement, “Thank Mother Angelica.”
Warren then echoes, “Thank you, Mother Angelica.”
“Mother” Mary Angelica (b. 1923) is the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network. Among the programs making up the daily broadcasting schedule is “The Chaplet of Divine Mercy.” A description of this program provides background information:
The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is a Christian devotion based on the visions of Jesus reported by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), known as “the Apostle of Mercy.” She was a Polish sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000. Faustina stated that she received the prayer through visions and conversations with Jesus, who made specific promises regarding the recitation of the prayers. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these conversations. As a Roman Catholic devotion, the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Holy Rosary or the Chaplet of Holy Wounds, in the Roman Catholic Church. As an Anglican devotion, The Divine Mercy Society of the Anglican Church states that the chaplet can also be recited on Anglican prayer beads. The chaplet may also be said without beads, usually by counting prayers on the fingertips, and may be accompanied by the veneration of the Divine Mercy image.25
Note the reference to “the veneration of the Divine Mercy image,” which is an essential component of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Consider this further documentation that will clarify that idolatry is the only way to describe what is taking place:
The earliest element of the Devotion to the Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina was the Image. On February 22nd, 1931 Jesus appeared to her with rays radiating from His heart and said, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the world. (Diary 47)
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary 48) I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature “Jesus, I trust in You.” (Diary 327)26
One could contend that Warren was just “making conversation” with Arroyo or even making a joke when he made the claim that The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy was his favorite “Christian” television program. But he has never made a public statement refuting or withdrawing his statements. Plus, he gave such detail in his account. If this is what he truly believes, if he was speaking the truth to Arroyo, then he is defying the God of the Bible and willingly ignoring the commandment in the Bible that states:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)
I took the time to watch several Chaplet of the Divine Mercy programs posted on the Internet. Staring at images of “Christ” or worshipping a monstrance containing the supposed body of Christ while repeating the rosary did not bring peace and relaxation for me as Warren claims it did for him. It does not take a great deal of discernment to realize these unbiblical practices are rooted in paganism.**
The Bottom Line
There’s no other way to put it, Rick Warren is on a dangerous path away from sound biblical doctrine toward an ecumenical apostate form of Christianity with Rome that has the potential to lead many astray.
What does it mean “to earnestly contend for the faith”? Is sound biblical doctrine being compromised for the sake of unity in the church today? When a pastor endorses a television program that promotes idolatry, shouldn’t that pastor be called out or at least asked to give a public repeal of his earlier endorsements?
The facts have been presented and a hypothesis can be formulated that leads to a reasonable conclusion. My prayer is that the damage done to biblical Christianity can be corrected through open repentance and public statements that set the record straight by Warren himself and those who follow him.
The Warren-Arroyo EWTN interview that first aired on YouTube on April 11, 2014 provides many insights regarding the “New Evangelicalism” that is presently unfolding. Rather than lines being drawn in the sand, walls are coming down, and ecumenical unity is being established. If Rick Warren and his followers represent the direction many Protestants are heading, it is only a matter of time for the coming one-world ecumenical religion to be established. The Jesuit plan to bring the “separated brethren home to Rome” will have been accomplished. Those who refuse to follow will be singled out and considered “heretics” who are ruining the P.E.A.C.E. process. Is it possible that persecution for these “resistors” is in store.
To order copies of Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much, click here.
* A term used in contemplative spirituality as one who can help you “discern” the voices you are hearing in the contemplative “silence.”
** I have decided the best way to confirm this point is to provide an Internet link to an actual Chaplet of Divine Mercy service so you can see with your own eyes what Warren and his wife Kay consider a “Christian” devotional. This is only one of many programs that you can watch that all show the same thing. Please check out this 8 minute video clip of a Chaplet of the Divine Mercy program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__RbWgxA2G0.
1. The interview can be viewed by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVCY8pW-ACs.
2. For more information on the Roman Catholic Church’s New Evangelization program, read Roger’s book, Another Jesus.
3. You can see a transcript of this portion of the interview, Section 1, here: http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/transcripts/rwinterview1.shtml.
5. See Faith Undone (Roger Oakland), A Time of Departing (Ray Yungen), and Deceived on Purpose (Warren B. Smith) for documented information.
6. Gerald May, The Awakened Heart (New York, NY:Harper Collins, First Harper Collins Paperback Edition, 1993) p. 87, citing from The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, translated by John Delaney, Image Books, 1977, p. 34.
7. For numerous actual quotes by Teresa of Avila, read Castles in the Sand by Carolyn A. Greene (a Lighthouse Trails novel based on the life of Teresa of Avila and a modern-day college girl).
8. See http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/johnofthecross.htm.
9. Transcript, section 1, op. cit.
11. Transcript, section 3: http://www.understandthetimes.org/audio%20commentary/transcripts/rwinterview3.shtml.
14. Rick Warren, PEW Forum, Key West, Florida, May 23, 2005, http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80.
15. Transcript, section 4: http://www.understandthetimes.org/audio%20commentary/transcripts/rwinterview4.shtml.
17. Jean Vanier, Essential Writings (Orbis Books, 2008), p. 62.
18. Ibid., p. 76.
21. Transcript, section 5: http://www.understandthetimes.org/audio%20commentary/transcripts/rwinterview5.shtml.
23. See the story of Mrs. Prest in the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Some editions of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs have omitted stories of papal persecution.
24. Transcript, section 5, op. cit.
Editor’s Note: Since Roger Oakland wrote this report in 2014, several high prolific Christian leaders, including Rick Warren, have moved further along the dangerous ecumenical path to Rome. You may find articles about these situations written by Lighthouse Trails authors in our print research journal (see copyright page of this booklet) as well as our research site (www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com).
To order copies of Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome And How One Interview Revealed So Much, click here.
Fox News Contributor Kirsten Powers Exits Evangelicalism to Embrace Catholicism – Timothy Keller & Other Evangelical Leaders Partly to Blame
By L. Putnam
Kirsten Powers, Fox News’ pundit, happily announced on October 9, 2015 to “The Five” on “One More Thing” that the next day she would become Catholic. Immediately, Powers was “high fived” by Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Eric Bolling.
Exactly why was this announcement so news worthy? Well, for starters Kirsten, once an Episcopalian and later an atheist, had shared a “conversion story” about nine years ago. At the time well-known Presbyterian Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Church in New York City had played a role in unveiling her eyes to the truth that God existed. Further time at Redeemer had her calling herself an “orthodox Christian,” and sharing her story with Christianity Today. One wonders was there anything Keller shared about his own affinity with Catholicism as found, for example, in his book Reason for God that gave Kirsten the impression Catholics are surely true Christians?
In an article, “Fox News’s* Kirsten Powers Announces: ‘I’m Becoming Catholic,'” Catholic Deacon Greg Kandra of the Diocese of Brooklyn writes that during a 2006 trip to Taiwan Powers felt she had had a visitation from Jesus. Kandra further writes, “She has called her conversion a ‘a bit of a mind bender’ due to her political beliefs and former atheism, and prefers the term ‘orthodox Christian’ over ‘evangelical’ to describe herself due to the ‘cultural baggage’ around the word ‘evangelical.’ She has said that the biggest impact her new found faith had on her political beliefs was that she came to ‘view everyone as God’s child and that means everyone deserves grace and respect.'” However, I would point out, that the Bible does not say everyone is God’s child. One Christian source puts it this way, “The Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16) and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16), but only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12, 11:52, Romans 8:16; I John 3:1-10).”
* Kandra’s error.
In another piece, “Kirsten Powers Awakens to the Beauty and Depth and Riches of the Catholic Faith,” Rick Rice wrote of Msgr. Charles Pope’s* article that told of Kirsten’s beautiful conversion story to Evangelicalism. Rice noted that Msgr. Pope, at the time, prayed that Kirsten would to know that Jesus is Lord and the lover of her soul. Of the Msgr. Pope piece, Rice quotes, “But Father, but Father… ‘She did not become Catholic.'” However, Msgr. Pope wrote, “Well, all I know is that she is on a journey. And the Lord has surely led some of the best Catholics through the Evangelical denominations to the Catholic Church.** … In fact some of the greatest converts to the Catholic Church bring many gifts from their time as Evangelicals … At a personal level, I would love for Ms. Powers to find herself in full union with the Catholic Church. …” Rice went on, “Well Msgr. Pope, that one day has apparently arrived: Welcome Ms. Powers to the faith that challenges and enriches.” Rice ended by saying to Powers, “May God use you ma’am to bring others to His embrace.”
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Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection by Ray Yungen is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection, click here.
After writing this booklet at my publisher’s headquarters in Montana, I learned that the Parliament of the World Religions was taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah that same week. I decided to head down there, and with a media pass, was able to enter the conference. What I experienced at the conference has confirmed to me that Pope Francis is without question an ardent interspiritualist on the same page as Thomas Merton.—Ray Yungen
Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection
In 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected Pope Francis the First. This new pope immediately began causing ripples in the Catholic Church with his statements on certain issues. He also caused many to take notice of his unpapal lifestyle such as living in a guesthouse with twelve others rather than living in the papal apartments like previous popes. He projects a down-to-earth image that denotes compassion and trust. He has been called the people’s pope, someone who is your friend, someone you can trust. But there are certain things about Pope Francis’ coming on the scene that are being ignored by the media and most people.
The first of these are the unusual circumstances that surrounded his election to the papacy. Pope Benedict resigned from his position as Pope. He is the first Catholic pope to do this since the 1400s. Popes do not resign but rather continue to be popes until they die. There was no obvious reason for Pope Benedict to resign. There was no scandal, nor no immediate health issue. (Two years into Pope Francis’ reign, Benedict is still alive.)
The second is the number of books about Pope Francis that have been released since he came on the scene. Previous popes had perhaps one or two books about them or by them. But books by or about Pope Francis are extremely prolific. You see them everywhere. Many of these books use descriptions such as revolution and hope.
The cover story in Christianity Today’s December 2014 issue proclaims: “Why Everyone is Flocking to Francis.” CT has its own idea of why “everyone” is drawn to the Pope. But if I am correct in my conclusions about contemplative spirituality and its outcome, then what is happening here is an occurrence that will affect the lives of millions of people, both Catholic and non-Catholic.
In his speech to the U.S. Congress on September 24th, 2015, Pope Francis praised four Americans he admired.1 One in particular stood out from the perspective of the spiritual future of the world—the Catholic monk, Thomas Merton. If you have been reading Lighthouse Trails literature for any length of time, you will know this reference by the pope is quite sobering and very significant. It is this situation that this booklet will be discussing.
Who is Thomas Merton? (1915-1968)
What Martin Luther King was to the civil rights movement and what Henry Ford was to the automobile, Thomas Merton is to contemplative prayer. Although this prayer movement existed centuries before he came along, Merton, a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, took it out of its monastic setting and made it available to, and popular with, the masses. I personally have been researching Thomas Merton and the contemplative prayer movement for over 20 years, and for me, hands down, Thomas Merton has influenced the Christian mystical movement more than any person of recent decades.
Merton penned one of the most classic descriptions of contemplative spirituality I have ever come across. He explained:
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race . . . now I realize what we all are. . . . If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are . . . I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other. . . . At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth. . . . This little point . . . is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. 2 (emphasis mine)
This panentheistic (i.e., God in everyone) view is similar to the occultic definition of the higher self.
In order to understand Merton’s connection to mystical occultism, we need first to understand a sect of the Muslim world—the Sufis, who are the mystics of Islam. They chant the name of Allah as a mantra, go into meditative trances, and experience God in everything. A prominent Catholic audiotape company promotes a series of cassettes Merton did on Sufism. It explains:
Merton loved and shared a deep spiritual kinship with the Sufis, the spiritual teachers and mystics of Islam. Here he shares their profound spirituality.3
To further show Merton’s “spiritual kinship” with Sufism, in a letter to a Sufi Master, Merton disclosed, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana.”4 So what is fana? The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult defines it as “the act of merging with the Divine Oneness”5 (meaning all is one and all is God).
Merton saw the Sufi concept of fana as being a catalyst for Muslim unity with Christianity despite the obvious doctrinal differences. In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:
Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.6 (emphasis added)
To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:
Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs [the atonement]differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas . . . in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.7 (emphasis mine)
Merton himself underlined that point when he told a group of contemplative women:
I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism.8
And he elaborated elsewhere:
Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk.9 (emphasis mine)
When we evaluate Merton’s mystical worldview, it clearly resonates with what technically would be considered traditional New Age thought. This is an inescapable fact!
Merton’s mystical experiences ultimately made him a kindred spirit and co-mystic with those in Eastern religions because his insights were identical to their insights. At an interfaith conference in Thailand, he stated:
I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian [mystical] traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own Christian traditions.10
Please understand that contemplative prayer alone was the catalyst for such theological views. One of Merton’s biographers made this very clear when he explained:
If one wants to understand Merton’s going to the East it is important to understand that it was his rootedness in his own faith tradition [Catholicism] that gave him the spiritual equipment [contemplative prayer] he needed to grasp the way of wisdom that is proper to the East.11
This was the ripe fruit of the Desert Fathers, the ancient monks who borrowed mystical methods from Eastern religion, which altered their understanding of God. This is what one gets from contemplative prayer. There is no other way to put it. It does not take being a scholar to see the logic in this.
Contemplative Prayer and The Expansion of the Catholic Church
The most obvious integration of this movement can be found in Roman Catholicism. Michael Leach, former president of the Catholic Book Publishers Association, made this incredibly candid assertion:
[M]any people also believe that the spiritual principles underlying the New Age movement will soon be incorporated—or rather reincorporated—into the mainstream of Catholic belief. In fact, it’s happening in the United States right now.12
Incorporating it is! And it is assimilating primarily through the contemplative prayer movement.
Contemplative leader Basil Pennington, openly acknowledging its growing size, said, “We are part of an immensely large community … ‘We are Legion.’”13 Backing him up, a major Catholic resource company stated, “Contemplative prayer has once again become commonplace in the Christian community.”14
William Shannon (a mysticism proponent and a sympathetic biographer of Thomas Merton) went so far as to say “contemplative spirituality has now widely replaced old-style Catholicism.”15 This is not to say the Mass or any of the sacraments have been abandoned, but the underlying spiritual ideology of many in the Catholic church is now contemplative in its orientation.
One of my personal experiences with the saturation of mysticism in the Catholic church was in a phone conversation I had with the head nun at a local retreat center who told me the same message Shannon conveys. She made it clear The Cloud of Unknowing (an ancient primer on contemplative prayer) is now the basis for nearly all Catholic spirituality, and contemplative prayer is now becoming widespread all over the world.
I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion. Speaking of a meeting between the late Pope Paul VI and members of the Catholic Trappist Monastic Order in the 1970s, Thomas Keating, disclosed the following:
The Pontiff declared that unless the Church rediscovered the contemplative tradition, renewal couldn’t take place. He specifically called upon the monastics, because they lived the contemplative life, to help the laity and those in other religious orders bring that dimension into their lives as well.16
Just look at the official catechism of the Catholic church to see contemplative prayer officially endorsed and promoted to the faithful by the powers that be. The catechism firmly states: “Contemplative prayer is hearing the word of God … Contemplative prayer is silence.”17
The Merton Paradigm
A 2013 article from the UK news source The Telegraph states:
[Pope] Francis is a Jesuit and his long, arduous formation as a priest was founded on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius.18
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) reaffirmed the pope’s “Ignatian spirituality,” stating that:
All Jesuits share the experience of a rigorous spiritual formation process marked by a transformative experience with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. To think that the leader of the Catholic Church is one who follows in the tradition of Ignatius, whose life has been devoted to finding God in all things, and who is committed to the service of faith and the promotion of justice, fills me with great hope. This is a great day for the Jesuits and the worldwide Church.19
Harvey D. Egan, S.J., Professor Emeritus of Systematic and Mystical Theology at Boston College explains the following about St. Ignatius of Loyola:
Ignatius of Loyola . . . is one of the Christian tradition’s profoundest mystics and perhaps its greatest mystagogue [one who teaches mystical doctrines].20
Today, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius incorporate contemplative prayer practices. Considering that Ignatian spirituality compliments much of Thomas Merton’s spiritual outlook, it is not surprising that a Jesuit pope would say the following words to the U.S. Congress:
[Thomas Merton] remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. . . . Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church.21 (emphasis added)
The problem is that Merton did indeed open new horizons, but not in a good way. The horizons he opened were to “spiritual realities” that were at odds with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather, it reflected an interspiritual perception and even beyond that into the realm of the occult. In the book The Aquarian Conspiracy, the following information shows just how far Merton had crossed the line into realms that were spiritually dangerous.
In 1967, Barbara Marx Hubbard, a futurist moved by Teilhard’s vision evolving human consciousness, invited a thousand people from around the world . . . to form “a human front” to those who shared a belief in the possibility of transcendent consciousness. Hundreds responded, including . . . Thomas Merton.22
Even though Marx Hubbard was an outright occultist, Merton still was on board with her. There didn’t seem to be any hesitancy on his part to embrace what she referred to as transcendent consciousness. In a nutshell, transcendent consciousness is the very essence of the teaching of all the world’s mystical traditions that God is in all that exists. But consider the implications of such a belief: If God were in everything, including all people, as Merton and Hubbard believed, then there would be no need for Jesus to die for the sins of the world to reconcile man to God because man would already be divine.
The account that best illustrates what outcome this could have for Christianity is the story of Sue Monk Kidd who was a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher in a small town in South Carolina. She would have been seen as an average Christian wife and mother. She gives a revealing description of her spiritual transformation in her book God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved sharing how she suffered a deep hollowness and spiritual hunger for many years even though she was very active in her church. She sums up her feelings:
Maybe we sense we’re disconnected from God somehow. He becomes superfluous to the business at hand. He lives on the periphery so long we begin to think that is where He belongs. Anything else seems unsophisticated or fanatical.23
Ironically, a Sunday school co-worker handed her a book by Thomas Merton, telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically.
In her third book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, not too many years after she wrote her first two books (which by the way were widely accepted in Christian circles, including a back cover endorsement by Moody Monthly magazine), there had been a dramatic change in her spiritual life as you can see in this narrative she wrote:
The minister was preaching. He was holding up a Bible. It was open, perched atop his raised hand as if a blackbird had landed there. He was saying that the Bible was the sole and ultimate authority of the Christian’s life. The sole and ultimate authority.
I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two inches below my navel. It was a passionate, determined feeling, and it spread out from the core of me like a current so that my skin vibrated with it. If feelings could be translated into English, this feeling would have roughly been the word no!
It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me no, no, no! The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period.24
Now Sue Monk Kidd worships the “Goddess Sophia” rather than Jesus Christ:
We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. . . . Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred. . . . Goddess offers us the holiness of everything.25
During his speech to the US Congress, Pope Francis said that Thomas Merton sowed peace in the “contemplative style.” But actually, Merton did something far different than sow peace; he sowed the actual belief systems of other religions as these two quotes below illustrate:
The God [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment.26
In other words, Merton found Buddhist enlightenment in contemplative prayer. Merton’s view that God is in every person is summed up in this statement:
During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: “We must tell them that they are already united with God. Contemplative prayer is nothing other than ‘coming into consciousness’ of what is already there.”27
Even influential Catholic leaders recognize this and refer to Merton as being a “lapsed monk” who “went ‘wandering in the East, seeking consolation, apparently, of non-Christian, Eastern spirituality.’”28
These new horizons by Thomas Merton that Pope Francis has found to be exemplar are going to lead to an even greater slide into interspirituality within Catholicism and even evangelical Christianity. In essence, those who are flocking to Pope Francis, as Christianity Today stated, are inadvertently flocking to Thomas Merton.
After writing this booklet at my publisher’s headquarters in Montana, I learned that the Parliament of the World Religions was taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah that same week. I decided to head down there, and with a media pass, was able to enter the conference. What I experienced at the conference has confirmed to me that Pope Francis is without question an ardent interspiritualist and on the same page as Thomas Merton. In one document I read (a letter written to all the conference participants by Archbishop Carlo Maria Bigano Vatican Ambassador to the U.S.), the Archbishop stated:
United to all of you in a bond of spiritual communion and in hope of increasing unity among all people of faith, the Holy Father offers his blessing and prayers as a pledge of strength and God.29 (emphasis added)
“Spiritual communion” is not referring to human kindness and respect to all people. This “spiritual communion” is where doctrines and beliefs are set aside, and a unity is established just as Thomas Merton suggested to the Sufi master (see page 5).
At the conference, I heard terms (in connection with the Pope, the Catholic Church, and all the world’s religions) such as “oneness,” “dialogue of fraternity,” and “he [Pope Francis] is a buddha” (said by a Buddhist monk); and the general consensus was that anyone who was not in favor of such a unity was spiritually wayward.
When Thomas Merton told the Sufi master that doctrine takes us away from the “spiritual realities” (a mystical state of oneness), he said “much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light.” In other words, beliefs must be set aside, and in their place is a unity that can be reached through mysticism. All of the world’s major religions have a practice that offers this mystical state.
Just as Merton saw “fana” (Islamic mystical state) as one of the paths to spiritual unity, Pope Francis sees the various religions as one family. He is bringing Thomas Merton’s ideas of unity to the table of global unity among all humanity. Thomas Merton’s “contemplative style” (that Pope Francis referenced to Congress) saw no contradiction between Christianity and Buddhism; and Merton said he wanted to be the best Buddhist he could possibly be.30 When Pope Francis praised Thomas Merton (knowing full well the implications of this), he gave a green light for everyone to embrace interspirituality. And where there is interspirituality, there is no place for the Cross of Jesus Christ.
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1. Pope Francis’ speech to the U.S. Congress in September 2015: http://time.com/4048176/pope-francis-us-visit-congress-transcript.
2. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Publishers, 1989), pp. 157-158.
3. Credence Cassettes magazine, Winter/Lent, 1998, p. 24.
4. M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Merton, My Brother (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1996), p. 115, citing from The Hidden Ground of Love), pp. 63-64.
5. Nevill Drury, The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1985), p. 85.
6. Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 109.
7. Ibid., p. 110.
8. Ibid., p. 69.
9. Ibid., p. 41.
10. William Shannon, Silent Lamp, The Thomas Merton Story (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992), p. 276.
11. Ibid., p. 281.
12. Michael Leach (America, May 2, 1992), p. 384.
13. M. Basil Pennington, Centered Living: The Way of Centering Prayer (New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing, Image Book edition, September 1988), p. 10.
14. Sheed & Ward Catalog, Winter/Lent, 1978, p. 12.
15. William Shannon, Seeds of Peace (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1996), p. 25.
16. Anne A. Simpson, “Resting in God” (Common Boundary magazine, Sept./Oct. 1997, http://www.livingrosaries.org/interview.htm), p. 25.
17. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Urbi et Orbi Communications, 1994), p. 652.
18. Charles More, “A New Pope, a New Primate and a New Life for Christianity” (The Telegraph, March 15, 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9932996/A-new-Pope-a-new-Primate-anda-new-life-for-Christianity.html).
19. From the AJCU website stated by John Hurley, JD (president Canisius College), “Statements on Pope Francis’ Election from Presidents of AJCU and Jesuit Institutions” (March 14, 2013 http://web.archive.org/web/20150325025014/http://www.ajcunet.edu/news-detail?TN=NEWS-20130314084452).
20. Harvey D. Egan, Soundings in the Christian Mystical Tradition (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010), p. 227.
21. Pope Francis’ speech to the U.S. Congress in September 2015: http://time.com/4048176/pope-francis-us-visit-congress-transcript.
22. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy (Los Angeles, CA: J.P. Archer, 1980), p. 57.
23. Sue Monk Kidd, God’s Joyful Surprise (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1987), p. 56.
24. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1996), p. 76.
25. Ibid., pp. 162-163.
26. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum Publishing, 1996), p. 76.
27. Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996, Revised Edition), p. 211.
28. Deborah Halter, “Whose Orthodoxy Is It? (National Catholic Reporter, March 11, 2005, http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2005a/031105/031105a.php).
29. Can be read at: https://cadeioparliament.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/message-to-pwr.pdf.
30. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
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Pew Forum: “Positive Impact of Pope Francis on Views of the Church, Especially Among Democrats and Liberals”
LTRP Note: The following article by an out of house news source is posted for informational and research purposes and not as a recommendation of the source or the content.
by Pew Research Center
In the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the pope has generated goodwill toward the Roman Catholic Church among many people across the political spectrum. Ideological liberals and moderates, along with Democrats, are especially likely to say Francis has given them a more positive view of the Catholic Church.
At the same time, the popular pope’s own favorability rating remains about where it was in early 2015. And most Americans say their view of the Catholic Church has not changed because of Pope Francis.
Overall, 28% of U.S. adults say they have a more positive view of the Catholic Church because of Pope Francis. Far fewer – just 6% – say they have a more negative view of the church because of Francis. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (58%) say their view of the Catholic Church has not changed very much. Click here to continue reading.
Letter to the Editor: Pope Francis Points to the “Contemplative” “Thomas Merton” in Speech to Congress . . . And the Role This Could Play in a One-World Religion
LTRP Note: On the morning of September 24th, Lighthouse Trails posted an article by Ray Yungen titled “Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion” “Coincidentally,” one hour later, Lighthouse Trails was contacted and told that the Catholic Church’s Jesuit Pope Francis talked about Thomas Merton (using the term contemplative to describe him) when he addressed Congress. Shortly later, Lighthouse Trails received this letter to the editor below.
The fact that Pope Francis referred to Merton (and his “contemplative style”) when talking to Congress and our nation is probably one of the heaviest things we have encountered since beginning Lighthouse Trails 13 years ago. We have suspected but now believe that Pope Francis has the capability of orchestrating a one-world religion. As one Merton scholar explained: “The God [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment.”1 In other words, Merton found Buddhist enlightenment in contemplative prayer.2 Merton’s view that God was in every person is summed up in this statement:
During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: We must tell them that they are already united with God. “Contemplative prayer is nothing other than ‘coming into consciousness’ of what is already there.”3
This is panentheism Merton is describing above. We took the quote from one of Brennan Manning’s books. Remember the booklet we just released earlier this week about Beth Moore and her contemplative propensities where we quoted her saying that Brennan Manning’s contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel.”4 But Manning resonates with Merton! Please see what is happening here. It was no coincidence that we just released Ray Yungen’s booklet on Richard Foster and John Lanagan’s booklet on Beth Moore (both showing the interspiritual “fruit” of contemplative prayer), and then posting the article on the Catholic Church’s Expansion this morning. We did not know the pope was going to be exalting Thomas Merton today. Surely, God is trying to send out a warning. We just fear that few will hear it.
In Yungen’s booklet on Foster, he presents some new information about Merton that we never had before. It’s vital, especially now that the pope has used Merton as an example of who the American people are (please read an excerpt from Yungen’s booklet below the letter to the editor to better understand what we are trying to say).
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am writing to you today hoping to pass some information onto Ray Yungen.
Today, I was led by the Lord to watch Pope Francis’ speech to Congress, I was curious as to what “interesting” things he was going to have to say. As I was watching the speech I heard him mention “Thomas Merton” which caught me off guard. I remember Ray and Warren Smith talking about him and how much he has been influenced by the New Age Movement. In his speech, he mentioned how “Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between people and religions.” He also said “Thomas Merton had the capacity for dialogue and openness to God” [contemplative]. He mentioned three other people in his speech, one of them being Dorothy Day [a radical feminist, social activist, and journalist], saying that these four people,4 including Thomas Merton, are “four representatives of the American people.”
After watching the speech, I felt I needed to pass this information onto Warren Smith, so I e-mailed him; I’m hoping he gets the e-mail. I really feel that this is just another connection of how the New Spirituality/Contemplative Prayer is invading the Body of Christ, and this nation!
After I e-mailed Warren, I was led to Lighthouse Trails Research website to try and see if there was any other contact information there. As I was there, I looked at the “blog” section page. To my absolute surprise, I saw an article written by Ray Yungen called “Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion.” It was posted on the EXACT same day as the Pope speaking to Congress. And what is one of the things the Pope talks about in his speech to congress? Thomas Merton!
Here is the actual video of his speech at Congress:
Here is the written transcript of the speech:
I hope that you will be able to pass this information onto Ray, and hopefully even Warren Smith as well! It’s just more information that can be used to connect the dots.
- Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum Publishing , 1996), p. 76.
- Explained byhttp://www.atimeofdeparting.com Ray Yungen in A Time of Departing.
- Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus, p. 211,citing Merton’s biographer, William Shannon
- The other two were Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Excerpt from Ray Yungen’s booklet, A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer
Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, is the most widely recognized of the modern-day contemplative writers. His influence is enormous in the contemplative field. Richard Foster quotes Merton over a dozen times in Celebration of Discipline and in other books as well, and many other evangelicals also quote Merton. The following entry from Merton’s published work, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (written during his last trip to Asia*) speaks volumes as to Merton’s spiritual sympathies:
We went looking first for Chatral Rimpoche [a Tibetan holy man] at his hermitage above Ghoom. . . . We were told he was at an ani gompa, a nunnery, down the road. . . . So off we went toward Bagdogra and with some difficulty found the tiny nunnery . . . and there was Chatral, the greatest rimpoche [a Buddhist teacher] I have met so far and a very impressive person.
. . . We started talking about dzogchen and Nyingmapa meditation and “direct realization” and soon saw that we agreed very well. . . . The unspoken or half-spoken message of the talk was our complete understanding of each other as people who were somehow on the edge of great realization . . . and that it was a grace for us to meet one another. I wish I could see more of Chatral. He burst out and called me a rangjung Sangay (which apparently means a “natural Buddha”) . . . He told me, seriously, that perhaps he and I would attain to complete Buddhahood in our next lives, perhaps even in this life, and the parting note was a kind of compact that we would both do our best to make it in this life. I was profoundly moved, because he is so obviously a great man, the true practitioner of dzogchen, the best of the Nyingmapa lamas, marked by complete simplicity and freedom. He was surprised at getting on so well with a Christian and at one point laughed and said, “There must be something wrong here!” If I were going to settle down with a Tibetan guru, I think Chatral would be the one I’d choose.5 (emphasis added)
An equally revealing aspect of Merton’s Asian trip is what he experienced at a Buddhist shrine in Ceylon:
. . . an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious. . . . All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all life, is charged with dharmakaya [the unity of all things and all people]. . . I don’t know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic illumination. Surely . . . my Asian pilgrimage has come clear and purified itself. I . . . have seen what I was obscurely looking for. I don’t know what else remains.6 (emphasis added)
Why would someone who was so heavily involved in “Christian” mysticism be so entwined in and enthusiastically embracing of Buddhist mysticism? I considered titling this booklet Something’s Wrong Here because even though Chatral meant it in a positive way, when he said those words to Merton, he himself was shocked that Merton, a professing Christian, was basically on the same page as him and that they were able to fellowship.
One of Merton’s biographers, William Shannon, made this very clear when he explained:
If one wants to understand Merton’s going to the East it is important to understand that it was his rootedness in his own faith tradition [Catholicism] that gave him the spiritual equipment [contemplative prayer] he needed to grasp the way of wisdom that is proper to the East.7
What Merton meant by “dharmakaya” is actually what the New Age and eastern religions call cosmic consciousness (i.e., God is in everything and everybody.) But Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, guarantees the reader that what he’s promoting will not lead to cosmic consciousness. He states, “It involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness.”8 (An excerpt from Ray Yungen’s booklet, A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer)
By Bill Randles
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. ( Matthew 23:8-10)
Isn’t it interesting that the man who is hailed as the very “Vicar of Christ” and who in the name of the Church of Christ recently signed a peace treaty with the so-called “Palestinian State” has come to America to meet with the man who virtually gave the terrorist state of Iran a nuclear program and 150 billion dollars, in the face of the fact that Iran considers the obliteration of Israel a “non negotiable” fact?
The irony is that the two Gentile rulers are having their unprecedented meeting on the Jewish High Holy Day of Yom Kippur, the day of national fasting, mourning, and repentance of sin.
The One who is the “head” of the Roman Catholic church, the so-called “Holy Father,” will also meet with the U.N. and will hoist the Vatican flag over the U.N. alongside the “Palestinian” flag, representing the solidarity of the “Holy See” with the Arab claim on land that God gave to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an unconditional covenant forever. See article, The Vatican Switch, will Join Palestine in flying flag .
And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. (Genesis 13:14-17—bold added)
Obama, the president of the United States and one of the Gentile kings of the earth, is the most hostile president to the state of Israel we have ever seen in the USA. He is a consistent supporter of Islam, having empowered ISIS, and disrupted the entire Middle East, turning it over to Muslim Brotherhood operatives, not to mention his unprecedented support for the Shia Iranian regime, an inveterate foe of the USA (the great Satan) and Israel (the little Satan), which it vows to wipe off the face of the earth.
The “Holy Father” is also a Gentile “King of the earth and their rulers.” He is head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The Pope has called Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the terrorist who planned the 1972 Munich Slaughter of the Israeli Olympic team, a “man of peace” and gave him an “Angel of Peace Medallion.” Abbas recently is quoted as saying that, “…we welcome every drop of Blood spilled in Jerusalem …”
Yom Kippur is on the Levitical calendar of “Appointments” Israel has with God. Israel’s God appointed holidays are appointments in the year and in history. The Spring appointments have already been kept, for the feast of unleavened Bread, the feast of Passover and the feast of First fruits are all realized in the Death of Jesus , the removal of sin by His death and the resurrection of Jesus three days later.
The Summer feast/appointment has also been kept in history, for it was on the feast of Pentecost that the most high poured out of His Spirit upon all flesh, starting in Jerusalem.
What remains are the fall feasts of Israel, Trumpets, Yom Kippur and the feast of Tabernacles. Trumpets ( i.e. Rosh Hoshanna) is a call to Israel to re-gather. We believe that since the re-birth of the nation of Israel in 1948, the trumpets have been sounding.
Yom Kippur is not a feast but a fast and a time of deep repentance for Israel. It corresponds to the Great Tribulation and the coming “time of Jacob’s trouble” spoken of in Jeremiah 30. It is observed as “ten days of awe,” soul-searching, repentance, repudiation of all foreign gods, and great trial.
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people. ( Joel 2:12-18)
I believe that the meeting of these two powerful Gentile leaders on this the one Jewish feast that is a fast, and a call to repentance and soul-searching, is of deep spiritual significance. Surely, the real “Day of Atonement” is coming soon, as all nations turn away from Israel, and Jerusalem is increasingly becoming a “cup of trembling” to all of the nations round about and a “Burdensome stone” in the road, an impediment to the “New World Order” in which both Obama and the “Holy Father” are heavily invested.
Used with permission from Bill Randles.
Pope Francis, Rick Warren, and That 2014 Catholic Interview No One Thought Important? Reminder of Its Revealing Facts About “America’s Pastor”
In May of 2014, Roger Oakland wrote a five-part series addressing Rick Warren’s television interview with Catholic TV host Raymond Arroyo. The facts that Roger uncovered should have sent shock waves throughout the evangelical church . . . but they didn’t. In fact, leaders and most pastors in the Christian church didn’t seem to care at all. And now, Rick Warren will be joining Pope Francis (at the Papacy’s invitation) when the Catholic pope comes to the United States this month. Warren is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at one of the events. For discerning Christians who do care about what is happening to the church, including the current ecumenical move to bring the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church (and ultimately form a unified global religious body as the Bible states will happen), we’d like to bring to your attention these five articles by Roger Oakland and ask that you pray that many eyes will be opened to what is happening. And much of this taking place within evangelicalism, if not most of it, can be attributed to the actions of leaders such as Rick Warren, Beth Moore, the late Chuck Colson, and many others, who have escalated this dangerous ecumenism that is changing the face of mainstream Christianity today.
Here are the links to those five articles from the special 2014 series written by Roger Oakland of Understand The Times, with some brief notes on each. There are also links to the actual interview between Warren and Arroyo.
a. Rick talks about the expansion of his ministry abroad, the Vatican delegation that recently came to Orange County to study his church’s style of evangelization, and which television channel he finds himself watching most often and the show that draws him.
b. Rick Warren starts the Purpose Driven Catholics program in 2005
c. Rick Warren admits he is in favor of the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program (set up to win the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church).
a. There is no room for doubt: Warren’s march towards ecumenical unity with Rome is becoming clearer and bolder as time passes.
b. His own words confirm that Roman Catholic mystics and their writings have been a strong influence on him personally and his ministry.
c. The authors and the books mentioned by Warren are more than revealing. They clearly show where his theology is founded.
(See part 1 and 2 of the interview between Rick Warren and Raymond Arroyo, click here.)
a. Rick Warren may have a plan laid away for the future of promoting a “religious liberty movement” that will be the equivalent of the “civil liberties movement” of the past.
b. It is possible that a so-called “religious liberty” movement championed by America’s Pastor, who is willing to go to jail for standing up for the religious rights of all religions, could be a stepping-stone to something else. Especially when it is so obvious this would be another important way to join evangelicals and Catholics together, a common trend of our day.
c. Warren could be a major spokesperson for persuading evangelicals to join together with Roman Catholics.
(See part 3 of the interview between Rick Warren and Raymond Arroyo, click here.)
a. If Rick Warren and his followers represent the direction many former “Protestants” are headed, it is only a matter of time for the coming One World Ecumenical Religion to be established. The Jesuit plan to bring the “separated brethren Home to Rome” will have been accomplished.
b. Warren admits that he has a “spiritual director” at the retreat center at Saddleback who was trained by the Catholic contemplative figure Jean Vanier.
c. Vanier is a contemplative mystic who promotes interspiritual and interfaith beliefs, calling the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi “one of the greatest prophets of our times” and “a man sent by God.” 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. 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.
(See part 4 of the interview between Rick Warren and Raymond Arroyo, click here.)
a. When a Christian leader publically makes statements or endorsements by saying or doing things that contradict the Bible, the leader needs to be addressed in a public manner so those who have been influenced can be put back on track.
b. Warren’s main reason for watching the Roman Catholic Eternal Word Television Network is to gain a knowledge and understanding of Christian history, then there is no question he is getting a biased one-sided view.
c. In Warren’s own words: “One of my favorite shows, which you repeat often is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which I love. And when I’ve had a very stressful day, I’ll come home, I’ve got it taped and Kay and I will both, we’ll listen. We’ll put it on and just sit back, relax and worship. And in the time of reflection, meditation and quietness I find myself renewed and restored. So thank you for continuing to play the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.”
d. “The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is . . . based on the visions of Jesus reported by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), known as ‘the Apostle of Mercy.’ . . . Faustina stated that she received the prayer through visions and conversations with Jesus, who made specific promises regarding the recitation of the prayers. . . . the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Holy Rosary or the Chaplet of Holy Wounds, in the Roman Catholic Church. . . . The chaplet may also be said without beads, usually by counting prayers on the fingertips, and may be accompanied by the veneration of the Divine Mercy image.”
(See part 5 of the interview between Rick Warren and Raymond Arroyo, click here.)