Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
Moody’s Pastors’ Conference Teaching Lectio Divina This Week – And Seven Years of Warning by Lighthouse Trails Go Unheeded
On May 20-23, Moody Bible Institute held its annual Pastors’ Conference (this year called re|Focus). Keynote speakers included Alistair Begg, Voddie Bauchman, Michael Easley (former Moody Bible Institute president) and a number of other evangelical pastors and speakers. On Tuesday, during one of the breakout sessions, Peter Spychalla, Director of Prayer Ministries, East White Oak Bible Church in Illinois gave a teaching on the contemplative practice called lectio divina (see page 35 of brochure): The description for the lectio divina workshop reads:
Reading and Praying Scripture for Spiritual Transformation
Revive your devotional life by learning to read and pray Scripture for spiritual transformation rather than reading merely for information. Learn how historic traditions and contemporary practice of lectio divina (spiritual reading of Scripture) can help you meditate on Scripture, pray Scripture, apply Scripture, and grow in life changing intimacy with God.
To understand what lectio divina is, read our article (which is also a booklet), “Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Should Christians Practice it?
While the news that Moody is promoting lectio divina is going to come as a shock to some, Lighthouse Trails wants to make one thing very clear: Moody Ministries, which includes Moody Bible Institute , Moody Publishing, Moody Radio, and Moody Conferences, has been going down the contemplative path for many years. In fact, this is not the first time Lighthouse Trails has written about Moody’s contemplative openness. We are also going to include The Moody Church in this article. While Moody Ministries and The Moody Church are under two separate corporations, they do share the same founder. Also The Moody Church’s senior pastor, Erwin Lutzer, is an author of Moody Publishers.
The History of Our Warnings to Moody
In 2006, while reviewing Larry Crabb’s book The Papa Prayer, where Crabb makes the claim that “centering prayer” has greatly benefited him, we were stunned to see a number of respected Christian leaders names’ on the endorsement pages in the book. We wrote an article warning our readers about Crabb’s book and attempted to warn a couple of the men who had endorsed the book. Here is an excerpt from our article, “Trusted Evangelical Leaders Endorse The Papa Prayer by Larry Crabb!”:
We called both the offices of James Kennedy and Erwin Lutzer to ask each of them if they realized what Larry Crabb was promoting, both in the book and in his ministry as well. We hoped we might be able to shed some light on the matter and that each of them would realize endorsing such a book would spiritually harm a lot of people. Perhaps they would want to issue a retraction. We received a call back from one of these men on the same day we called. Erwin Lutzer, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church and popular and respected author and speaker, listened to our concerns but told us that when he read the terms “contemplative prayer” and “centering prayer” in Crabb’s book, he did not think of it as any kind of New Age prayer. He said he absolutely does not endorse or promote the New Age at all. While we were happy to hear this, we told Pastor Lutzer that Larry Crabb does promote New Age beliefs and Lutzer’s name in the book will lead many who trust him to think Crabb’s book and other work are acceptable. Pastor Lutzer asked us to please remember to love all the brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. He felt this was more important than criticizing others and naming names, and he said that we (Lighthouse Trails) may not really be qualified to identify spiritual deception within the church.
In The Papa Prayer, Crabb states:
I’ve practiced centering prayer. I’ve contemplatively prayed. I’ve prayed liturgically….I’ve benefited from each, and I still do. In ways you’ll see, elements of each style are still with me . . . Other forms of relating to God that have unique value in connecting us to Him include contemplative prayer and centering prayer. (pp. 9, 22)
One week after we came out with our article on Erwin Lutzer’s endorsement of Crabb’s book, we wrote another article titled, Moody Bible Institute – What Ever Happened?” This article addressed Moody’s Midday Connection radio show, which was bringing in contemplative guests such as Keri Wyatt Kent, Larry Crabb, and Dallas Willard. Our article stated:
When Midday Connection (MBI ministry) was recently asked about their obvious promotion of Wyatt Kent and of contemplative spirituality, they stated that they were committed to spiritual formation and named “solid guests” like Larry Crabb and Dallas Willard who were teaching people “spiritual disciplines.” They said they were just “re-stating some old truths in new ways.” It makes sense that they would use Larry Crabb as an example of these “new ways.” Crabb, in the foreword of a book (Sacred Companions) by contemplative-promoting David Benner, said that it was time to get rid of the old written code and replace it with new ways of practicing spirituality. Even still, it is surprising that Moody would call Larry Crabb and Dallas Willard “solid guests … “who recognize the need to teach people spiritual disciplines.”
We also pointed out in this article that Moody Conferences was bringing in speakers such as emergent figures Dan Allender and the now late Robert Webber. Both Allender and Webber have shown affinity with emergent leader Brian McLaren. In addition, we showed how Moody Publisher’s magazine promoted Gary Thomas’ contemplative book, Sacred Pathways, where Thomas tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes. Our article also showed that Moody Bible Institute Graduate School has a Department of Spiritual Formation, and a Master of Arts Degree in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship (MASF/D). A number of contemplative authors are used in these programs (Nouwen, Benner, Willard, Foster, etc.).
But Moody’s admiration for things contemplative goes back further than 2006. In 1987, Moody Monthly wrote an endorsement for Sue Monk Kidd’s book, God’s Joyful Surprise. In this book, one of Monk Kidd’s earlier books, she unfolds her journey into contemplative spirituality, largely from reading Thomas Merton and other contemplative authors. Once a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher, today she promotes neo-paganism and goddess worship. This is what Moody Monthly wrote on the back cover of God’s Joyful Surprise over two decades ago:
Carefully avoiding a how-to approach [Kidd] suggests some disciplines for cultivating an interior quietness and a richer personal experience of God’s love. Her writing, well-balanced by the wisdom of writers like Brother Lawrence, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri Nouwen is alive with humorous anecdotes.
One year after our two initial articles on Moody, we posted one titled “Young Christian Woman Withdraws from Moody Bible Institute Because of Contemplative Promotion.” We stated:
The young woman learned that the college (and at least one of the classes she was registered for) was promoting contemplative spirituality. Upon learning this, she spoke with various school officials about the situation. After coming to the conclusion through these meetings that Moody would at this time continue in the direction it was going, the young woman prayerfully decided she could not compromise her faith by receiving a degree from an institution that was promoting these teachings. This week, she withdrew herself from this fall’s upcoming classes and will now search for another Christian college.
Two of the authors this young woman challenged that were being used at Moody were Henri Nouwen and John Eldredge. Within a few weeks of our posting the plight of the student, we received a call from Moody’s public relations office telling us they had posted a response (and sent us an email) to Lighthouse Trails. That response still sits on the Moody website today. You may access it by clicking here. We stated the following with regard to their response:
Moody states that they agree that according to our definition of contemplative spirituality, it is wrong. Our definition states:
“A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).”
Their email states that they do not endorse this type of spirituality. They say that although they use books by contemplatives authors in their courses, it does not necessarily mean they adhere to the teachings of these authors. They say they are using these books to possibly discuss the errors of these books and authors. But this defense is contrary to evidence in their ministries and on their web sites that show they are promoting these authors and their teachings.
Basically, Moody was denying that they were promoting contemplative spirituality even though they were using contemplative authors. We offered to send complimentary copies of A Time of Departing and Faith Undone to the Moody public relations office back in 2007, but we were told not to send them.
Two months later, in November of 2007, we wrote the following article: “Moody Bible Institute Recommends Richard Foster’s Meditation! – Lighthouse Trails Challenges MBI.” We stated:
MBI professor Dr. Winfred O. Neely tells readers that “deep and prolonged thinking about the Lord’s word, person, and work is biblical.” While he states that eastern style meditation is wrong and dangerous, he brings terrible confusion to the matter by also stating: “For more in depth reading about the vital practice of biblical meditation, I suggest that you pick up Richard Foster’s book, The Celebration of Discipline.” . . . Once again, we beseech Moody Bible Institute to read A Time of Departing so professors and students alike will not be drawn into the deception of Richard Foster’s spirituality. Foster has and continues to uplift and emulate the late monk Thomas Merton who said that God dwells in every human being. Merton knew that the silent state one goes into through contemplative would lead the practitioner into a view that God is in all. Is this really what MBI wants to convey to their students when they continue to include Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Larry Crabb, and Dallas Willard in the lecture halls and publications of their institution?
It is vital to understand that the spirituality of these men is based on the same method that Thomas Merton used, and yet 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. (Shannon, Silent Lamp, p. 281)
In other words, if we want to understand Merton’s conversion to eastern thought, it was contemplative prayer that was the catalyst! This isn’t complicated or does it take a doctorate degree in theology to grasp. It’s as clear as day.
In January of 2008, we posted the following: “Moody Bible Institute Favors Mystic Henri Nouwen.” We started off our article by stating:
Leaders at Moody Bible Institute have adamantly insisted they do not promote or endorse contemplative spirituality. And in spite of repeated promotion of contemplatives . . . they have publicly stated they are against contemplative. Lighthouse Trails offered on more than one occasion to send faculty and staff complimentary copies of A Time of Departing [by Ray Yungen] to help explain the dangers of this mystical belief system. That offer has not yet been accepted. Now, to kick off the new year, MBI’s “Today in the Word” January 5th and January 9th editions are favorably referencing mystic Henri Nouwen.
We pointed out that whoever at MBI quoted Nouwen from his book In the Name of Jesus perhaps did not read the section in Nouwen’s book called “The Discipline: Contemplative Prayer” where Nouwen says: “For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (p. 32). When Nouwen says “from the moral to the mystical,” he is referring to exactly that – the mystical. Nouwen personally practiced mantra-type meditation for many years, which led him to absorb the universalism and panentheism of the mystics he admired. We concluded our article by stating:
Nouwen’s propensity for the mystical elements of spirituality with panentheistic overtones, are quite evident when one studies his writings. Even one of his biographer’s noted that Nouwen was enamored with Sri Ramakrishna who believed that all the world’s religions were valid revelations from God. Yet Nouwen esteemed him as an important spiritual figure (from Wounded Prophet). There is ample evidence to show why Henri Nouwen cannot be considered a trustworthy source for biblical Christianity. Is it that MBI does not want to look at the evidence because they are attracted to the same spirituality as Nouwen, Crabb, Foster, and Kent? If this is not the conclusion that we should reach, then what is it?
In December of 2008, we posted “Confusion Over Moody’s Pastors Conference – Concern Over Contemplative Promotion.” In this article, we revealed that the 2009 Moody Pastors’ Conference was going to be including a break out session called Soul Care to be presented by a contemplative organization called Soul Care. After some correspondence between Lighthouse Trails and Moody’s public relations office, the break out session Soul Care was cancelled. However, our article also showed that on January 10th 2008, Moody’s Mi-Day Connection radio program interviewed Soul Care’s founder Mindy Caliguire and contemplative advocate Adele Ahlberg Calhoun to “talk about practices that can transform us.” Ahlberg Calhoun has been the subject of Lighthouse Trails articles because of her book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook. In the book, Ahlberg Calhoun promotes mantra meditation, giving detailed instructions on several types of contemplative practices. In addition, she quotes from many New Age sympathizers and New Age contemplatives and encourages the use of centering prayer, breath prayers, contemplative prayer, labyrinths, palms-up, palms-down exercises, and recommends for further reading a who’s who of mystics. One of those she lists is Shalem Institute’s co-founder Tilden Edwards (p. 62).
A year later, in 2009, we wrote another article, this one titled: “Keri Wyatt Kent Continues Leading Women Toward Contemplative – Moody Bible Institute Helps,” showing Wyatt Kent’s continued connection with Moody’s Midday Connection program.
In November of 2011, we wrote “Focus on the Family’s Adventures of Odyssey Has “Eugene” Going to a Monastery – Moody Radio Broadcasts Program” (headline is self explanatory).
In December of 2011, we wrote the following: “Moody Publishers Release Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer.” This seemed to be a big bold step Moody was taking toward contemplative. Regarding the contemplative prayer book that Moody published, we stated:
The book is a collection of various prayers by a wide assortment of writers (e.g. the prayer of confession, the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of renewal, etc). Near the end of the book, Kurt Bjorklund, the author, has a section titled “Works Cited.” He lists ”the sources for prayer utilized in this book.” There are around 70 sources. It is from these sources that the prayer collections are gathered.
At least a dozen of these are books by contemplative authors who Lighthouse Trails has written about in the past: Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Ken Boa, Leighton Ford, Max Lucado, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, and Mother Teresa, all strong advocates of contemplative prayer. In addition, there is a book by emerging hero N.T. Wright, one by atonement denier Harry Fosdick (who suggests the Cross is barbarian), a book called the Catholic Prayer Book, one titled Celtic Daily Prayers, and The Book of Common Prayer.
Bjorklund also turns to a number of ancient and contemporary Catholic monks and priests. One such contemporary priest, the abbe Huvelin, once said, “I want all the inhabitants [of this place - his hermitage] whether Christians, Moslems, Greeks, Jews, or idolaters, to look upon me as their brother, their universal brother.” [Based on our research, what he means is not brothers in the social sense but rather brothers in the spiritual sense.] Such is an underlying sentiment in contemplative circles. The abbe Huvelin is a fitting choice for Bjorklund’s book. Other books in this list of 70-some sources by Bjorklund include A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God, and Harper Collins Book of Prayers (and there are others), all of which are brim full with prayers, references, and quotes by contemplative mystics.
It is a sad dilemma for us at Lighthouse Trails that try as might, Moody has dug in their heels and refuses to look at the evidence we present in our work. We are not asking them to take our word for it. We offer well-documented research, right out of the mouth of the mystics themselves. One year ago, in the spring of 2012, we posted “The Moody Church of Chicago Welcomes Contemplative Advocate Larry Crabb As Guest Speaker.” It appeared that Lutzer’s Moody Church was going to stay in step with Moody Ministries. After watching the “sermon” that Larry Crabb gave at The Moody Church last spring, we made these observations:
In this message, Larry Crabb is introducing Jesus as more of an example or model to us (one that we can be like) than a Savior to us. This is the crux of the contemplative/emerging message. This is where spiritual formation comes in. Since to be truly Christ-like is not possible without Christ in us (born-again), the contemplatives turn to the disciplines (with the emphasis on the mystical), and this gives them the illusion of being close to God (the mystical experience produces this euphoric feeling).
His conclusion is that we need to search for our own “center[s].” His psychology-filled, Scripture-starving sermon did not point to Jesus Christ and His magnificence but rather pointed to how the attributes of God can make us a great community and have great relationships. . . .
Lest some think we are speaking inaccurately about Crabb’s propensities toward contemplative spirituality, take a look at his connection with Richard Foster (Renovare) and Dallas Willard, two of the main pioneers in the modern day contemplative prayer movement: http://store.renovare.us/search.aspx?searchterm=crabb.
And in Crabb’s book, Real Church, he makes the following revealing statement: “I’m glad that as a conservative evangelical who still believes in biblical inerrancy and penal substitution, I’ve gotten over my Catholic phobia, and I’ve been studying contemplative prayer, practicing lectio divina, valuing monastic retreats, and worshipping through ancient liturgy. I appreciate Bernard of Clairvaux’s [a panentheistic] provocative insights. I’m drawn to Brother Lawrence’s profoundly simple ways to practice God’s presence. I’m intrigued and enticed by Julian of Norwich’s [also a panentheist] mysterious appearings of Jesus (p. 41). (Crabb does say he is against “false mysticism” in the book, but clearly advocates what he considers legitimate mysticism, that of the contemplative mystics.)
This brings us full circle and leads us to answer the question, is the prayer of occultic mystics the same as the prayer of “Christian” contemplatives? We believe we answered that question in our recent article regarding Ruth Haley Barton’s invitation to the Assemblies of God General Council conference coming up this summer, “Lighthouse Trails Statement to Assemblies of God Response Regarding Invitation of Ruth Haley Barton” We hope you will read that article, and then, if you are persuaded as we are in knowing that contemplative prayer is a dangerous, occultic practice, contact Moody and beseech them to study this matter and find the truth on it.
Incidentally, last month, Eric Targe, a Senior student at MBI and a Pastoral Intern at The Moody Church wrote a blog article promoting lectio divina called “Reclaiming Tradition – Lectio Divina.
Fil Anderson is a name Lighthouse Trails has been acquainted with for several years because of his book Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers and his involvement with organizations such as Youth Specialties and Young Life (Anderson had been in Young Life leadership for many years and is still involved with the organization). Anderson also speaks with Richard Foster’s organization, Renovare.
To say Anderson’s book is contemplative would be an understatement. The book is filled with contemplative names such as Brennan Manning, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Evelyn Underhill, and John Cassian. Also favorably named in the book are: Thomas Merton, Soren Kierkegaard, Sue Monk Kidd, Tilden Edwards, Gerald May, and several others who fall into the panentheistic mystical camp. Contemplative prayer is clearly the theme of the book. In addition to the contemplative advocates referenced and quoted in the book, contemplative practices such as lectio divina, repetition of a word or phrase, and the Jesus Prayer are also promoted. One of the books that Anderson quotes from is Morton Kelsey’s book, The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation. Kelsey is a contemplative mystic who has influenced tens of thousands of people. Practicing mystical meditation led Kelsey to say: “You can find most of the New Age practices in the depth of Christianity. . . . I believe that the Holy One lives in every soul.”1 And also:
Each church needs to provide classes in forms of prayer. This is only possible if seminaries are training pastors in prayer, contemplation and meditation, and group process. . . . The church has nothing to fear from the New Age when it preaches, teaches, and heals.2
Like Ruth Haley Barton, Fil Anderson was trained at the Shalem Institute on Spiritual Formation. He spent two years in training there. In the acknowledgements of his book, Anderson thanks “[t]he magnificent people at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, for playing such a vital role in my spiritual formation, especially Rose Mary Dougherty, Tilden Edwards, and Gerald May.” This is not a surprising comment coming from someone who is totally sold on contemplative prayer. But it is disheartening to learn that Anderson is involved with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse. Anderson is a member of the Spiritual Care Team.
We called Samaritan’s Purse and were told that the Spiritual Care Team is a group of volunteers made up mostly of long-time “friends” of Samaritan’s Purse whose primary purpose is to do follow-up phone calls with people who have been in need. We asked the person we spoke with at Samaritan’s Purse if all the Spiritual Care Team members were Christians, and she told us that each team member was a “solid” Christian believer. We asked if a New Ager would be allowed to be on the Spiritual Care Team, and she said, “probably not.”
Obviously, to those who understand the dynamics of contemplative spirituality, it is troubling to know that Samaritan’s Purse is using a strong contemplative proponent to “minister” to people in need. If those people, in their time of great need, are directed in any way to the teachings of mystics like Thomas Merton, Tilden Edwards, Sue Monk Kidd, or Gerald May, how is this going to help them? In actuality, it can hurt them deeply. For one, these mystics believe that God dwells in everything (all creation and in every human being) and thus the message of the Cross (the Gospel) would not be needed. Secondly, should these people in need begin to practice contemplative mysticism, they will end up with occultism rather than with God’s Holy Spirit.
Like most contemplatives, Anderson describes a spiritual emptiness in his life: “In my deepest parts I knew that God was everywhere. Yet often I wondered and even doubted whether God was in my spirit” (Running on Empty, Kindle Locations 259-260). Anderson talks about being so busy with church activities when he was a young Christian man that he finally became burnt out – filled with despair and depression. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital where he received some temporary help.
After college, Anderson became a leader in the international Christian organization Young Life. He eventually slipped back into feeling burnt out and in despair until one day he attended a retreat where he read a book by panentheist Thomas Kelly. From there on out, Anderson’s life changed, and he became a contemplative, looking to the mystics he writes about in his book for his spiritual nourishment.
This is just another example of how contemplative spirituality has come into the church. We believe there are very few Christian organizations that have not been affected to some degree.
Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that helps people in dire need. On their Statement of Faith, they adhere to the basic fundamentals of the Christian Faith. We hope they can be alerted to the truth about contemplative spirituality and would reconsider allowing mysticism proponents to offer spiritual ”help” to people in need. Years ago, Lighthouse Trails sent a copy of A Time of Departing to Franklin Graham’s office. We don’t know if he ever read it. We are going to send a copy of this article and another copy of A Time of Departing to his office this week. Please pray that he will receive the book and will read it. On the Samaritan’s Purse website, it states that their mission is “to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel.” The hope of the Gospel and contemplative spirituality do not line up together. They are on two opposite poles.
1. Morton Kelsey cited in Charles H. Simpkinson, “In the Spirit of the Early Christians” (Common Boundary magazine, Jan./Feb. 1992).
2. Morton Kelsey, New Age Spirituality (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1st edition,1992, edited by Duncan S. Ferguson), pp. 56-58.
SPECIAL FOLLOW-UP REPORT: Lighthouse Trails Statement to Assemblies of God Response Regarding Invitation of Ruth Haley Barton
A Special Follow-Up Report by Ray Yungen and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails
Before we begin our report addressing the public response issued by the Assemblies of God Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood and Dr. Jodi Detrick, chairperson for the Network for Women in Ministry regarding the invitation of Ruth Haley Barton to the 2013 General Council Conference, we would like to clarify one thing: Lighthouse Trails carries no personal animosity toward Ruth Haley Barton. Our issue has to do with a spiritual practice that Ms. Barton is deeply involved with and that, as we will show, has roots in Eastern mysticism, which does not line up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the Word of God.
To begin, we want to clarify that the names we mention below are not people who are loosely and inadvertently associated with this mystical spirituality but rather are practitioners and dedicated advocates of it.
Dr. Detrick suggested in her response to our April 15th article that what we presented in that article was a “misunderstanding” in that there is a clear and distinctive difference between Eastern mysticism and Christian contemplative prayer. She stated:
Sadly, some are saying that seeking the Lord in such a way equates with the practices of meditation and contemplation in Eastern religions. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and is an unfortunate and inaccurate identification.(source)
What we hope to show in this report is that our conclusions are not the result of a misunderstanding by any means, and we will show that there is a direct correlation between the contemplative prayer movement and Eastern meditation.
While we bear no ill feelings toward Dr. Detrick or Dr. Wood, we are compelled to show that the premise of the following statement by Dr. Detrick can be disproven through solid evidence:
We want to assure those with concerns that there is not even the smallest part of us that embraces any form of eastern religion or the New Age movement’s teachings and practices.(source)
Now while it may be Dr. Detrick’s intent not to embrace any form of Eastern mysticism, we will demonstrate that contemplative prayer and Eastern meditation are essentially the same, and different in name only. At the onset of providing this evidence, please bear in mind that while we only give a relatively few examples (for the reader’s time’s sake) in this report, we could provide many many more similar examples as they are ample.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER AND EASTERN MEDITATION
I. The very person who coined the term New Age, occultist Alice Bailey, saw a direct link between Christian mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer) and Eastern mysticism. Bailey stated:
It is, of course, easy to find many passages which link the way of the Christian Knower [contemplative] with that of his brother in the East. They bear witness to the same efficacy of method.1
II. Tilden Edwards, the founder of Shalem Institute of whom Ms. Barton received her training in contemplative spirituality, also identified the connection between contemplative prayer and Eastern meditation. Edwards said:
This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality.2
III. In his book, Spiritual Friend, Tilden Edwards suggests those who practice contemplative prayer and have begun experiencing “spiritual unfolding” and other “unusual experiences,” should turn to a book titled Psychosynthesis in order to understand the “dynamics” at “certain stages.”3 The man who wrote Psychosynthesis, Roberto Assagioli, was a direct disciple of Alice Bailey! Edwards might as well have recommended people turn to Alice Bailey herself. This is not guilt by association. Edwards knows that there is a connection between contemplative prayer and occultic (i.e., Eastern) mysticism.
IV. Thomas Keating, a major leader in the contemplative prayer movement, also acknowledges that Barton’s contemplative prayer is related to Eastern religious meditation. In a book Keating wrote the foreword to, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, Keating states:
In order to guide persons having this experience, Christian spiritual directors may need to dialogue with Eastern teachers in order to get a fuller understanding.4
Keating understands that within the DNA of Christian contemplative prayer is Eastern- mysticism. Philip St. Romain, the author of the Kundalini book says: “This book is an important contribution to the renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition.”5 Contemplative mystics say these things because they know them to be true. Also in the foreword of that book, Keating states that the Kundalini energy “is also at work today in numerous persons who are devoting themselves to contemplative prayer.” Kundalini energy is what is known as the serpent power of New Age mysticism. This statement by Keating should cause any Christian who is even thinking of dabbling in contemplative prayer to run the other way. We encourage you to look up Kundalini on the Internet.
V. Ruth Haley Barton identifies with Keating. In her book, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, she admits that Thomas Keating helped her to understand the contemplative idea of “the true self” (man’s divinity):
The concept of the true self and the false self is a consistent theme not only in Scripture but also in the writings of the church fathers and mothers. Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen (particularly Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart) and Father Thomas Keating are contemporary authors who have shaped my understanding of this aspect of the spiritual life.6
Merton, Nouwen, and Keating believe that man can attain to his “true self” (perfect self) through mystical practices. This is actually the crux of the Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) movement, that man realizes his divinity through mystical experiences. Ruth Haley Barton’s Transforming Center has a mission of helping people find their “higher” true self through contemplative practices.
VI. Henri Nouwen, the late Catholic priest, who is touted highly by Barton as well as by virtually every contemplative proponent, knew very well that Eastern mysticism was at the underlying roots of contemplative prayer. In a book written by universalist Catholic priest, Thomas Ryan, Nouwen (in the foreword) wrote:
[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian . . . Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book.7
VII. Regarding a book written by Philip Goldberg titled, American Veda, the book shows how “Hindu mysticism has profoundly affected the world view of millions of Americans and radically altered the religious landscape.”8 Goldberg saw fit to devote an entire chapter to contemplative prayer stating:
Perhaps the biggest shakeup by the eastern winds has been . . . the reawakening - of Western mysticism . . . the long sequestered vaults of contemplative Christianity and Jewish mysticism [Kabbalah] begin to be unlocked.9
If contemplative prayer has nothing to do with eastern mysticism, then why does Goldberg devote an entire chapter to it? He saw it as an adjunct to Hinduism. One final point to consider is this: Virtually every major New Age bookstore has a sizable section on Christian meditation (i.e., contemplative prayer). Call one up in your own town or city and ask if this is so. We believe you’ll see it is.
WHERE DID CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE COME FROM?
I. Carl McColman, in his book, The Big Book of Mysticism, The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality, states:
It is important to note that, throughout the history of Christianity, Christian mystics have displayed an unusual openness to the wisdom of non-Christian philosophy and religion. . . . Ultimately, however, no absolutely clear distinction can be drawn between Christian and non-Christian mysticism… It is precisely in this dimension of mystery that people of different faiths and different wisdom traditions can relate to each other.”10
II. Brian C. Taylor said:
These contemplatives also recognize their soul mates in other traditions, as did Thomas Merton in his pilgrimage to Buddhist Asia. This is because they have passed beyond the confines of religion as a closed system to an open awareness of God-in-life.”11
III. The contemplative prayer movement that is rising rapidly within evangelical circles largely through the early work of figures like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Ruth Haley Barton, and now many of their protégés, stems primarily from the Catholic church. Michael Leach, past president of the Catholic Book Publishers Association, explained this:
The irony is that the best of the New Age ideas—those flowing from a spiritual understanding of God, humankind and the universe—have been jewels in the Catholic treasury since the very beginning, but for too long have been neglected, forgotten or buried.12
IV. How did Eastern meditation enter the Catholic church in the first place? Did the early church fathers get it from the apostles, Jesus’ teachings, or Scripture? No, they did not. On the contrary, the Desert Fathers (monks such as St. Anthony who became hermits) experimented:
It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried … many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.13
And in this experimentation, they “discovered” a prayer tool. According to one meditation scholar:
The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East . . . the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery.14
The fourth-century Desert Fathers understood that a simple device was needed to keep the “monkey mind” from wandering. Thus, the mantra method of prayer, which had been introduced centuries before by Buddhists and Hindus, came to be a stable form of Christian prayer, not only for the Desert Fathers and Mothers but for Christians down through the ages.15
One of Christian contemplative’s own, Marcus Borg, reveals the role the mantra plays in contemplative prayer:
Contemplation typically involves the silent repetition of a mantra—-a single word, a short phrase or a series of short phrases. . . . Ultimately the purpose of contemplative prayer is to descend to the deepest level of the self, of the heart, where we open out into the sea of being that is God.16
V. Christian contemplative teachers will often say that in contemplative prayer one is not using Buddhist or Hindu mantras, so therefore it cannot be called Eastern meditation. While it is true that different words or syllables are repeated in the contemplative mantra than those used by Eastern mystics, the method (mantra or focus) of entering an altered state of consciousness is the same. Furthermore, as we will demonstrate later, the fruit of contemplative prayer has been shown time and time again to be the same – that of a pantheistic (or panentheistic) mindset of divinity in all things. In short, one would have to conclude – after witnessing the teachings of countless contemplative prayer mystics – that contemplative prayer and Eastern mysticism alike connect the practitioner with spirit guides that will erode – and in time destroy – their belief in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Once the practitioner establishes the belief, as contemplative prayer will bring him to, that he has divinity within, there is no longer the need for the Cross. Yes, and countless contemplative mystics have already come to this conclusion.
PROOF THAT CONTEMPLATIVE IS OCCULTIC
I. Perhaps the strongest evidence to prove that the realms entered during contemplative prayer are not God’s realm (i.e., the Holy Spirit) but rather demonic occultic realms is observing the “fruit” that contemplative prayer bears in a practitioner’s life. Probably the most profound example is that of the late Catholic monk and mystic, Thomas Merton, who said once that he was “impregnated with Sufism”17 (Islamic mysticism).
Merton’s mystical experiences ultimately made him a kindred spirit and co-mystic with those in other Eastern religions. 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.18
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.19
II. A second remarkable example of the “fruit” of contemplative prayer can be found in an author (often quoted by evangelical contemplative advocates, including Barton) named Sue Monk Kidd. Monk Kidd was once a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher. One day, she was handed a book by Thomas Merton. It changed her life dramatically (that’s an understatement). Monk Kidd explained:
I found a host of Christian thinkers and saints talking about a way of “being with” God—a way of needing Him and experiencing Him in the depths of one’s being—that opened the door to oneness with Him. They called it contemplation. I was amazed to realize that I had known practically nothing about this ancient and powerful tradition of Christian meditation…. I was ready.20
She wrote that quote in a book titled God’s Joyful Surprise: a spiritual biography. Just to illustrate how subtle this spirituality can be, listen to some of the endorsements she received for that book by traditional Christian organizations:
“[A] joy to read from beginning to end.” Virtue Magazine (back cover); A Virtue Magazine best book of the year
“[T]he message and challenge of the book is profound.” Today’s Christian Woman (back cover)
“[Kidd] suggests some disciplines for cultivating an interior ‘quietness’ and a richer, personal experience of God’s love.” Moody Monthly (back cover)
We don’t believe that the people who wrote these endorsements really understood what they were endorsing.
III. But back to our point here to show the “fruit” of contemplative prayer. Where is Sue Monk Kidd today, spiritually speaking? Listen to these quotes written by her a number of years after God’s Joyful Surprise to see where it took her:
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. . . . As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall, I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess.21
Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it’s known as samadhi . . . The day of my awakening was the day I saw, and knew I saw, all things in God, and God in all things. 22
Today, after going down the contemplative path, Sue Monk Kidd worships the goddess within and not the God of the Bible. That is what practicing contemplative prayer got her. And it is what it got Thomas Merton. He came to believe, as well, that God was inside every human being (panentheism):
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. 23
And Henri Nouwen:
The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being.24
What we are saying here is vital. God does not work in the contemplative silence—but rather demons do. Moreover, what makes it so dangerous is that they are very clever. One well-known New Ager revealed what his guiding (familiar) spirit candidly disclosed:
We work with all who are vibrationally sympathetic; simple and sincere people who feel our spirit moving, but for the most part, only within the context of their current belief system.25
The term “vibrationally sympathetic” here means those who suspend thought through word repetition or breath focus—inward mental silence. That is what attracts them. That is their opening. That is why Tilden Edwards called this the “bridge to far Eastern spirituality,” and this is what is being injected into the evangelical church!
WHERE IS THIS ALL LEADING?
In Sue Monk Kidd’s book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, she makes a revealing comment:
Deity means that divinity will no longer be only heavenly … It will also be right here, right now, in me, in the earth, in this river, in excrement and roses alike.26
Monk Kidd has come to believe that God is in everything, literally. She rejects the belief that God is holy and man is a sinner needing a Savior and redemption.
We do not believe that Dr. George Wood or Dr. Detrick would deny the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, nor do we believe they would say that they agree with the words of Thomas Merton or Sue Monk Kidd. But by their willingness to embrace the teachings of Ruth Haley Barton (or any contemplative, for that matter) they are directly exposing themselves and potentially the two-and-a-half million in their denomination to the beliefs of Merton and Monk Kidd.
Alice Bailey predicted that there would be a global awakening where mankind would finally realize the divinity within. She called it the “regeneration of the churches.” Her rationale for this was obvious:
The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished.27 (emphasis added)
Satan is very good at deceiving people, often in very subtle ways. The Bible talks about a day that is coming when Christians will fall into great deception. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1). These seducing spirits are just that – seducing.
In Acts 16, there is a good example of this. The spirit in the woman endorsed Paul and Silas, but that spirit was not for them but rather against them. It was a demon. In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about great deception coming upon the earth prior to His return. False christs, false prophets, great signs and wonders, and many coming in His name. Could it be that this mystical spirituality, which leads man to say he is divine, is part of this great falling away? We believe it is.
Nothing is being twisted here. The aforementioned evidence is based on facts, not speculations. The leaders of the Assemblies of God (and every other denomination, actually) must decide if they really want to take their denomination in this direction. If they decide to go forward, they must explain away the evidence we have given.
In her books, Ruth Haley Barton quotes a number of people who could legitimately be called New Agers. Bear in mind that she quotes these figures in the context of the practices they share. In her book Sacred Rhythms, she quotes Basil Pennington from his book Finding Grace at the Center. This means she must have read that book, which is a primer in contemplative mysticism. Listen to what Pennington says:
We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible.
Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM [Transcendental Meditation] and similar practices, especially where they have been initiated by reliable teachers and have a solidly developed Christian faith to find inner form and meaning to the resulting experiences.28
Basil Pennington is one of the prominent figures of the contemplative prayer movement.
We stated in this report that contemplative prayer stands on the same ground as occultism. With that in mind, it is worth mentioning that both Thomas Keating (who, according to Barton, shaped her thinking) and Basil Pennington enthusiastically endorsed a book titled Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey in Christian Hermeticism. Fortune-telling Tarot cards are one of the major tools for divination in occultism. And Hermeticism is a set of ancient esoteric beliefs based on the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, the one who coined the term “as above, so below” (the maxim for the New Age movement). Keating said the book was “the greatest contribution to date toward the rediscovery and renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition,”29 and Pennington said, “It is without doubt the most extraordinary work I have ever read.”30 We’re talking about outright occultism here – there’s no room for doubt.
We are not asking anyone reading this to take our word for it. Look these authors up and see for yourself what they are saying. Compare this report we have written with our earlier article showing how Ruth Haley Barton is directly promoting the practice of contemplative prayer. We think, after true prayer and deliberation, you will come to the same conclusion we have—that contemplative prayer has no place in the biblical Christian faith.
Dr. Detrick claims that “[c]ountless AG people, and credentialed leaders, have testified to drawing much closer to the Lord as a result of Ruth’s books and teachings.” If it is true that “countless AG people” have been influenced by Ruth Haley Barton, then this report should motivate those in the Assemblies of God to get to the bottom of this controversy that is unfolding here.
1. Alice Bailey, From Intellect to Intuition (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing Co., 1987, 13th printing), p. 193.
2.Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend (New York, NY: Paulist Press,1980), pp. 18.
3. Ibid., pp. 162-163.
4. Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1995), foreword written by Thomas Keating.
5. Ibid, p. 7.
6. Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence (Downer Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 2004), p. 160.
7. Thomas Ryan, Disciplines for Christian Living (Disciplines for Christian Living ), pp. 2-3, from Henri Nouwen in the foreword.
8. The publisher’s description of American Veda on both the publisher’s website and Amazon.com.
9. Philip Goldberg, American Veda (New York, NY: Random House, 2010), p. 310.
10. Carl McColman, The Big Book of Mysticism (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing, 2010), pp. 63-64.
11. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum Publishing , 1996), p. 62.
12. Michael Leach (America Magazine, May 2, 1992), p. 385.
13. Ken Kaisch, Finding God (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1994), p. 191.
14. Daniel Goleman, The Meditative Mind (Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher/Putnam Inc., 1988), p. 53.
15. Frank X. Tuoti, The Dawn of the Mystical Age (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1997), p. 137.
16. Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity (San Francisco, CA: 2004), p. 198.
17. Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 69.
18. William Shannon, Silent Lamp (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1992), p. 276.
19. Ibid, p. 281.
20. Sue Monk Kidd, God’s Joyful Surprise (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1997), pg. 187.
21. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1996), pp. 162-163, 161.
22. Ibid, p. 161.
23. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1989 edition), pp. 157-158.
24. Henri Nouwen, Here and Now (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997 edition), p. 22.
25. Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions (A Uni-Sun Book, 1985 4th printing), p. 33.
26. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, op. cit., p. 160.
27. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing, 1976), p. 510.
28. M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke, Finding Grace at the Center (Petersham, MA: St. Bede’s Pub., 1978), pp. 5-6.
29. Endorsement on jacket of book
Note: Ray Yungen has been researching the New Age and contemplative spirituality for over 20 years. He is the author of A Time of Departing and For Many Shall Come in My Name. You may find more information, including contact information, about Ray Yungen and Lighthouse Trails at www.lighthousetrails.com and www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com.
To Lighthouse Trails:
I disagree entirely with your critique of Henri Nouwen. To help justify his views try reading some of John Philip Newell’s
hugely successful books. Western spirituality is dead. Believing that “God is in the face of every child”; John Philip
does not take to the belief that you have to be saved and “born again” to get to the true “Presence.”
Just a suggestion to widen your horizons and explore Celtic Christianity before adhering to such a narrow view of Christianity.
In Christ, ________
Have you ever read Henri Nouwen’s last book he wrote, Sabbatical Journey? It really shows where mysticism led him, and it wasn’t closer to the Cross, sadly. We know many people loved him, and we are not challenging him personally as to his motives or intents. Only God knows the heart. But we do challenge the mystical spirituality that he was promoting. We must challenge that, for the core essence of that spirituality, whether Nouwen fully realized it or not, negates the very Gospel that is the only means by which a man can be saved. The following article we have written gives evidence of Nouwen’s propensities and where it got him:
At the end of his life, in the last book he ever wrote (Sabbatical Journey), Henri Nouwen said the following:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.1
Even though such a statement does not at all fit within biblical Christianity, and in essence denies the very foundation of Christ’s work on the Cross, Henri Nouwen is touted as a great spiritual figure by countless Christian leaders, pastors, seminary professors, etc.
Even “America’s pastor” Rick Warren and his wife Kay have highly recommended the works of Henri Nouwen. And it is a rare Christian college or university that does not have at least one professor who uses books by Nouwen to teach his or her students (see our recent article on Multnomah University where professors acknowledge their affinity toward Nouwen). Some of the most respected Christian leaders (e.g., Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah) view Nouwen as someone who can be looked up to and admired greatly. Regarding Nouwen’s popularity, Ray Yungen says:
Many pastors and professors are greatly attracted to his [Nouwen's]deep thinking. In fact, one of his biographers revealed that in a 1994 survey of 3,400 U.S. Protestant church leaders, Nouwen ranked second only to Billy Graham in influence among them.2
Why this appeal for Nouwen? Yungen explains:
Nouwen combines a strong devotion to God with a poetic, comforting, yet distinctly intellectual style that strikes a strong and sympathetic chord with what could be called Christian intelligentsia…. One person told me that Nouwen’s appeal could be compared to that of motherhood–a warm comforting embrace that leaves you feeling good.3
Let us examine what led Nouwen to come to his interspiritual, panentheistic sympathies.
In Nouwen’s book, Sabbatical Journey (which was a diary or journal of what turned out to the be the last year of his life), Nouwen admitted he was listening to tapes on the chakras (which Reiki is based on) during that final year,4 and in that same book he discusses meeting a man named Andrew Harvey at a talk Harvey was giving. Nouwen said he was particularly attracted to this homosexual New Ager’s mystical affinities.5 It is Harvey who stated: “we are all essentially children of the Divine and can realize that identity with our Source here on earth and in a body.”6 Without a doubt, it is clear to see that Henri Nouwen concluded his life as one who had been affected by mysticism to the point it altered his spiritual outlook and gave him panentheistic propensities.
The fact is, Nouwen embraced this New Age spirituality after many years of drawing from the wells of mysticism. From his earliest writings, Nouwen was interested in Thomas Merton (whom he met once at the Gethsemani monastery in Kentucky), the Catholic monk who helped to bring contemplative spirituality out of the monasteries and into Christianity at large. After turning to mysticism himself, Merton came to believe that Divinity (God) dwells in all human beings.
In Nouwen’s earliest books, Intimacy (1969) and Creative Ministry (1971), he was already talking about Thomas Merton. In 1972, Nouwen wrote a book titled: Pray to Live: Thomas Merton – Contemplative Critic. Clearly, this little-known testament of praise for Merton shows Nouwen’s affinity to Merton’s mysticism. In the introduction of the book, Nouwen admits the “impact” Merton had on his life. In that book, Nouwen discusses a major turning point in Merton’s life when Merton crossed paths with a Hindu monk called Dr. Bramachari. “Merton wrote about him with much humor, great respect and deep reverence,” Nouwen states.7 Merton, who was seeking to be a mystic and at the time was studying many of the “great” eastern mystics, was told by Bramachari that he did not have to leave the Christian faith to become a mystic; it could be found, he said, within the walls of “the Christian mystical tradition”8 – that is “Christian” mysticism. Merton took Bramachari’s advice and became a pioneer in bringing mysticism to Christianity. Later, Richard Foster became Merton’s voice in the evangelical church.
After writing Pray to Live: Thomas Merton – Contemplative Critic, Nouwen went on to write several other books with the continued theme of contemplative spirituality. Two of the most popular ones today are The Way of the Heart (1981) and In the Name of Jesus (1989). It is this latter book that Rick and Kay Warren so highly recommend. In that book, Nouwen states that Christian leaders must move “from the moral to the mystical.”9 Rick and Kay may have learned about Nouwen from New Age sympathizer Robert Schuller who resonates with Nouwen as well, saying the students at Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership (of which Warren was one) had to “watch and listen to” Nouwen.10
In The Way of the Heart, Nouwen speaks of eastern-style meditation:
The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart … This way of simple prayer … opens us to God’s active presence.11
In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen discusses this “active presence” that Nouwen was referring to:
But what God’s “active presence” taught him, unfortunately, stood more in line with classic Hinduism than classic evangelical Christianity. He wrote:
Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, … It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is.12
It is critical to note here that Nouwen did not say all Christians are one; he said “all is one,” which is the fundamental panentheistic concept of God–the God in everything unites everything. Like Thomas Merton, it was Nouwen’s intent to make mystical prayer a pervasive paradigm within all traditions of Christianity. He felt the evangelical church had many admirable qualities but lacked one vital one: mysticism. He sought to remedy this by imploring,
It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called….13
The doctrines (instructions) of demons (no matter how nice, how charming, how devoted to God they sound) convey that everything has Divine Presence (all is One). This is clear heresy, for that would be saying Satan and God are one also. If what Henri Nouwen proclaimed is true when he said, “We can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is,” then Jesus Christ and Satan are also united. That, my friend, is something only a demonic spirit would teach!14
For skeptics in Christian circles (professors, pastors, teachers, etc) who are touting and promoting the writings of Henri Nouwen, let it be known that you are promoting the writings of Thomas Merton–they are one in the same. They both believed in the importance of eastern-style meditation, and they both came to believe there were many paths to God and divinity dwelt in all things and people. Not only are Nouwen’s books evidence of this, but there is record of nearly thirty years of journals, articles, forewords to others books, talks, and interviews where Nouwen espouses the path of mysticism.15
In one of those forewords, a book that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality, Nouwen stated:
[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian … Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book.16
On the back cover of another book, Meditation, by Eknath Easwaran, a Hindu guru, Nouwen said: “This book has helped me a great deal.”
In spite of all this, many, many Christian figures and leaders point their followers, readers, students, and congregants to Henri Nouwen. Whether these leaders understand the true spirituality of Henri Nouwen or not, they are leading people to something that could ultimately develop within them great spiritual deception and for some, detrimental eternal loss.
Notes: 1. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 51.
2. Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 61.
4. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 20.
5. Ibid., p. 149.
6. Harvey, The Direct Path, p. 34.
7. Nouwen, Pray to Live: Thomas Merton – Contemplative Critic, p. 28, (later called Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic – 1981).
8. Ibid., p. 29.
9. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus, pp 31-32.
10. Ford, Wounded Prophet, p. 35.
11. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 81, 1991 ed.
12. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, 1997, 1/15 & 11/16 readings
13. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 66.
14. Yungen, from chapters 3 and 7 of A Time of Departing.
15. Complete list of Nouwen’s published works.
16. Ryan, Disciplines for Christian Living, pp. 2-3.
SPECIAL REPORT: Assemblies of God “Believe” Conference Makes Bold Move – Brings in Contemplative Key Player Ruth Haley Barton
This August, in Orlando, Florida, the Assemblies of God USA will be presenting their General Council Conference, which takes place every two years. The title of this year’s event is ”BELIEVE.” Scheduled to speak to “women in ministry” on one of the nights is Ruth Haley Barton. This is a bold move that the Assemblies of God is making because Barton is a major player in bringing contemplative mystical (i.e., mantra-based) prayer into the evangelical church.
The mission statement for the conference is “Believe we are on the cusp of an unparalleled Spiritual awakening.”1 On the conference website, it states:
GENERAL COUNCIL is the Assemblies of God’s largest gathering. It takes place every two years bringing church leaders together from all around the world.2
It also says that the event will inspire encounters with God, shape the Assemblies of God movement, and enhance [AOG leaders] ”skills and be inspired to advance the kingdom of God.”
While the Assemblies of God denomination has been going in the contemplative direction for some time, especially within the AOG theological seminary, to bring a major contemplative player in as a speaker to the movement’s main leadership conference illustrates how much AOG has absorbed contemplative spirituality over the last few years especially.
As a little background, in 2005, Lighthouse Trails addressed the issue of contemplative coming into AOG when we discussed Professor Earl Creps, director of the Doctor of Ministry at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Creps is probably one of the earliest figures within the AOG movement to bring contemplative into AOG. In one document titled “Leading Others and Myself,” Creps lists a number of New Spirituality, emerging church and contemplative proponents as people he turns to.3 A 2006 LT article, “Assemblies of God: Committed to Spiritual Formation, Contemplative and Emerging,” stated:
If Assemblies of God Theological Seminary is any indication, then AOG is heading straight towards contemplative spirituality and the emerging church. Earl Creps . . . is a heavy proponent of both contemplative and emerging. In his course syllabi over the last five years, Creps has classes with titles such as “Leading the Emerging Church” and “Models of Ministry in the Emerging Church.” Syllabus reading materials include those from Henri Nouwen, Brian McLaren, Ken Blanchard, Dan Kimball, . . . and Leonard Sweet. A visit to Creps’ “Spiritual Adventures” blog gives a hearty helping of emergent discussion. In one blog, Creps tries to show how there might be a union between Pentecostalism and the emerging church [i.e. contemplative], saying the relationship is “gaining some traction.”
As in most cases now, contemplative starts coming into a denomination through seminaries, colleges, and universities, and in time reveals itself in the main body of that movement. That is now what is happening with AOG bringing in Ruth Haley Barton to the General Council event this year where AOG leaders from around the world will be participating.
For those who have followed Lighthouse Trails, you will know that Barton was trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, DC where she, according to her own words, was “under the guidance of Tilden Edwards, Rosemary Dougherty and Gerald May.” On Ruth Haley Barton’s Transforming Center website, she enthusiastically acknowledges being trained there, but the site gives a vague and almost oxymoronic disclaimer saying: “While she values all that she has gained from the teachers and institutions in which she has studied, this does not imply endorsement of everything taught in these environments.”4 (emphasis added)
We could talk about the beliefs of Tilden Edwards, Rosemary Dougherty, and Gerald May, but we have in other articles that can be looked up on our research site and read. Basically, these teachers are contemplative mystics who adhere to panentheism and universalism. It was Edwards who said that, “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality (Spiritual Friend, p. 18). In other words, contemplative spirituality draws all religions together in unity under the common denominator of mysticism.
Who is Ruth Haley Barton?
After Barton finished her training at the Shalem Institute, she became the Associate Director of Spiritual Formation at Willow Creek Community Church and co-authored (with John Ortberg) a Spiritual Formation curriculum for Willow Creek. In time, Ortberg moved on to become pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian in California, and Barton left to found the Transforming Center, which claims to train thousands of pastors and leaders in the contemplative way. She has written a number of books – virtually all having the core message that you gain intimacy with God through the silence (that is her predominant message). Some of these books are: Invitation to Solitude and Silence (foreword by Dallas Willard), Sacred Rhythms, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, and one of her more recent ones Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups.
So what is it exactly that Barton teaches? In a Christianity Today article titled “Drawing Closer to God,” Barton describes the practice of contemplative prayer, saying, “Ask for a simple prayer to express your willingness to meet God in the silence . . . a simple statement . . . such as ‘Here I am. . . . ’ Help yourself return to your original intent by repeating the prayer that you have chosen.”
In Barton’s popular book, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, she goes into more depth:
• Identify your sacred space and time. Explore all the possibilities for a time and physical space in which you can be alone on a regular basis (p. 40).
• Begin with a modest goal, especially if silence is a new practice for you. Ten, fifteen or twenty minutes of time spent in actual silence is realistic, depending on such factors as your personality, pace of life, reliance on words and activity (p. 41).
• Settle into a comfortable yet alert physical position (p. 41).
• Ask God to give you a simple prayer that expresses your openness and desire for God. Choose a prayer phrase that expresses your desire or need for God these days in the simplest terms possible. It is best if the prayer is not more than six to eight syllables so that it can be prayed very naturally in the rhythm of your breathing. Pray this prayer several times as an entry into silence and also as a way of dealing with distractions. Distractions are inevitable, so when they come, simply let them go by like clouds floating across the sky. Help yourself return to the prayerful intent by repeating the prayer you have chosen. Use your prayer phrase for as long as it captures what is most true about your heart’s desire for God, and link it with a body posture that also helps you express your spiritual desire (pp. 41-42).
In regard to Barton’s disclaimer on her website, she can say that she does not endorse everything she was taught at Shalem Institute, but the fact of the matter is what she just described above is the essence of what Shalem believes and teaches. Everything they teach stems from this mystical prayer. Perhaps she is implying that she does not adhere to their panentheistic (God in all) and universalist (all are saved) views, but that would be ironic because these are the things that are produced by practicing contemplative prayer. Ray Yungen calls them the “fruit” of contemplative prayer. In A Time of Departing, Yungen discusses Shalem and its role in Barton’s spiritual life. He includes a quote found on Shalem’s website to show the underlying roots of Shalem’s ultimate goal:
In Christianity and other traditions that understand God to be present everywhere, contemplation includes a reverence for the Divine Mystery, “finding God in all things,” [panentheism] or “being open to God’s presence, however it may appear. (5)
Yungen shares his concerns about Ruth Haley Barton:
“[Barton] echoes [goddess worshipper] Sue Monk Kidd in many ways, including the general malaise or condition of the human soul. Barton recounts:
A few years ago, I began to recognize an inner chaos in my soul . . . No matter how much I prayed, read the Bible, and listened to good teaching, I could not calm the internal roar created by questions with no answers. (“Beyond Words“)
“The following scenario Barton relates could be the wave of the future for the evangelical church if this movement continues to unfold in the manner it already has:
I sought out a spiritual director, someone well versed in the ways of the soul . . . eventually this wise woman said to me, . . . “What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.” . . . I decided to accept this invitation to move beyond my addiction to words (“Beyond Words”)
“By ‘addiction to words’ [Barton] means normal ways of praying. She still uses words, but only three of them, ‘Here I am.’ This is nothing more than the Cloud of Unknowing or [Henri Nouwen's] prayer of the heart. Like Richard Foster, Barton argues that God cannot be reached adequately, if at all, without the silence. In referring to I Kings 19 when Elijah was hiding in a cave, Barton encourages:
“What Barton fails to mention here is that Elijah was a valiant defender of the belief in the one, unique God – Yahweh (as seen in his encounter with the 450 prophets of Baal), and he never went into an altered state of silence in his personal encounter with God.” (A Time of Departing, 2nd. ed., pp. 172-173)
Those reading this who are skeptical about what we are saying may be asking, “What’s so wrong about repeating a word or phrase and going into an altered state of silence?” To this we answer, this state of silence is the same state that occultists and Eastern meditation practitioners enter when practicing transcendental meditation (TM). We can prove this by the words of one of the men who trained Ruth Haley Barton – Gerald May (from Shalem Institute). May wrote the foreword to a book titled Zen for Christians. In that book, he says the following:
I began to explore Eastern religions . . . I was taking my spiritual business elsewhere. Or so I thought. What surprised me, eventually, was that my foray into Buddhism led me in a kind of circle, back to my Christian roots. Over time, Buddhist practices [meditation] somehow revealed to me the rich resources of Christian contemplative tradition that had been there all along . . . I was not alone in that experience. . . [Those on the contemplative road] in their searching, many turned toward the East and experienced exactly what I had – an eventual discovery of deep nourishment [Eastern enlightenment] within their own original traditions. The phenomenon happened so frequently that we gave it a name: “pilgrimage home.”
May was correct in stating that so-called “Christian” contemplative prayer is the same as Buddhist meditation. As one adherent admitted, “The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics” (Kirby, Mission of Mysticism, p. 7). Who are the “advanced mystics”? There are plenty of them, names you probably know: Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, and to that list we add Ruth Haley Barton.
Consider this: On Barton’s website, she sells books by Catholic priest and contemplative activist Richard Rohr. In addition, she quotes him (in a prominent spot) in her recent book Pursuing God’s Will Together from his book, Everything Belongs. Typical of other contemplatives, such as Thomas Merton, Rohr believes that everything is connected together and that all is divine (thus, everybody belongs to the kingdom of God). In his 2011 book, Falling Upward, Rohr implies that we all are ”immaculate conception[s]” (p. ix). If these things are true, then there was no need for Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for the sins of mankind. We would not need a Savior because we would already be divine ourselves. In truth, contemplative spirituality is the antithesis of the Gospel. That is why there are countless mystics who claim to know God (or Jesus) but will have nothing to do with the Cross.
In a YouTube teaching video by Barton, she tells viewers, “You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain [if you follow her instructions],” but we say you have everything to lose and nothing to gain if you go down the contemplative path. Sadly, instead of being on the “cusp of an unparalleled Spiritual Awakening,” it appears that the Assemblies of God is going to be losing “a whole lot” in the days to come as they further open themselves to the contemplative “silence” and the spiritual deception that accompanies it. Our warning here is to be taken seriously. William Shannon, Thomas Merton’s biographer, validated our concern when he made the following observation:
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. (Silent Lamp, p. 281)
This is what Tilden Edwards meant by the bridge to Far Eastern spirituality. Merton didn’t become a Buddhist; rather he grasped the way that “is proper to the East.” That is how Merton, as a Catholic monk, could say, “I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.”* In other words, while you don’t become a Buddhist, you absorb the Buddhist view into your Christianity. This is the underlying herald cry of the contemplative prayer movement, and it is something that can never be reconciled with the message of the Cross.
The ironic thing is that the Assemblies of God has traditionally held to the biblical view of the end times whereas contemplative spirituality lines up with a universal world religion, which will encompass all humanity and unite under the man of sin. There has never been anything on the scene before that would allow a universal religion that appeals to people on a broad scale. But first people have to hook up to the common factor and binding agent of this one-world religion, and that is contemplative prayer!
*David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term “Spiritual Formation” was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction.1 Richard Foster
What is spiritual formation, and what is its premise? According to Roger Oakland, spiritual formation came upon the church like an unsuspecting avalanche:
A move away from the truth of God’s Word to a mystical form of Christianity has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. Few Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, most do not realize it has even happened.
The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the forbidden book. Until the Reformers translated the Bible into the language of the common people, the great masses were in darkness. When the light of God’s Word became available, the Gospel was once again understood.
I believe history is repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise in mystical experiences escalates, and these experiences are presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling, and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for fostering spiritual formation. This term suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God and to emulate him. Thus the idea that if you do certain practices, you can be more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite. In a DVD called Be Still, which promotes contemplative prayer, Richard Foster said that contemplative prayer is for anyone and that by practicing it, one becomes “a portable sanctuary” for “the presence of God.”2 Rather than having the indwelling of the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, spiritual formation through the spiritual disciplines supposedly transforms the seeker by entering an altered realm of consciousness.
The spiritual formation movement is widely promoted at colleges and seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader. It 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. In so doing, many Christian leaders are frivolously playing with fire, and the result will be thousands, probably millions, getting burned.
It isn’t going into the silence that transforms a person’s life. It is in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and allowing Him to change us, that transformation occurs. (Faith Undone, pp. 90-92)
To understand spiritual formation, all one needs to do is understand the spirituality of Richard Foster. Lighthouse Trails has documented his beliefs through A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, as well as through numerous articles on the Lighthouse Trails Research site. In this particular article, let us turn to a small book Richard Foster wrote called Meditative Prayer. Foster says that the purpose of meditative prayer is to create a “spiritual space” or “inner sanctuary” through “specific meditation exercises” (p. 9). Foster references several mystics in the book who can point the way to these exercises: Madame Guyon, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton. Foster breaks the contemplative process down into three steps. He says:
The first step [into meditative prayer] is sometimes called “centering down.” Others have used the term re-collection; that is, a re-collecting of ourselves until we are unified or whole. The idea is to let go of all competing distractions until we are truly centered, until we are truly present where we are.
Foster suggests that practicing visualization methods help us center down (p. 17). In the second step of meditation, Foster suggests that mystic Richard Rolle experienced “physical sensations” (see kundalini info) during meditation which perhaps we may or may not experience as well (p. 18). Step three of meditation, Foster says, is that of “listening” to God. Once the meditative exercises have been implemented and the “spiritual ecstasy” is reached, this entered realm is where the voice of God can be heard (p. 23). However, as any New Age meditator knows, this ecstatic state is an altered state of consciousness where everything is supposed to be unified and one with God. Foster acknowledges the interspiritual attribute linked to contemplative prayer when he states: “[Jesus] showed us God’s yearning for the gathering of an all-inclusive community of loving persons” (p. 5). Foster defines more of what he means by “all-inclusive” in his book Streams of Living Water when he says this “all-inclusive community” includes everything from a “Catholic monk” to a “Baptist evangelist.”3 In other writings, he says that contemplative prayer (and its results) are for everyone and anyone (see Be Still DVD).
Interestingly, Foster discusses the practice of lectio divina in his book, which is being heralded in many Christian settings as a Christian, biblical practice. People are persuaded to believe that repeating phrases and words of Scripture over and over again is a deeper way to know God. They believe that since it is Scripture being repeated (and not just any words), then this validates the practice and that this sacred reading is sacred because it is the Bible being used. But Foster himself proves that it has nothing to do with Scripture. It’s the repetition that is effective, not the words. He states: “[L]ectio divina includes more than the Bible. There are the lives of the saints and the writings which have proceeded from their profound [mystical] experiences” (p. 25). Foster obliterates the supposed premise of lectio divina by saying this. That is because as a meditation proponent he knows that meditation has nothing to do with which words are repeated over and over; it is the repetition itself that puts one into an altered state. Thus whether you say Jesus, Abba, Buddha, or OM, it produces the same effect.
Just in case there is any doubt in the reader’s mind, Richard Foster tells readers to study Thomas Merton for a deeper understanding of meditation, calling his book, Contemplative Prayer a “powerful analysis of the central nature of contemplative prayer.”
Spiritual formation is contemplative spirituality, and it is sweeping quickly throughout Christianity today. If a college, a seminary, a church, or an organization (like Focus on the Family) wants spiritual formation, may they keep in mind, they will get eastern meditation and the occultic realms that accompany it.
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)
As Roger Oakland states:
We are reconciled to God only through his “death” (the atonement for sin), and we are presented “holy and unblamable 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. (Faith Undone)
1. “Spiritual Formation: A Pastoral Letter”
2. Richard Foster, Be Still DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, 2006), section titled “Contemplative Prayer.”
3. Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1998), p. 273.
4 Reasons Why Holman Publishers Should Not Have Inserted an Article by a Contemplative Author into Their King James Bibles
Recently, Lighthouse Trails learned that Holman Bible Publishers (the oldest Bible publisher in America) has inserted an article by a strong contemplative proponent into several of their King James Version Bibles (some of which Lighthouse Trails WAS carrying) including: the Ultra Thin Reference Bible, the Pocket-Sized Bible Classic, the Large Print Ultra Thin Bible, and the Personal Reference Bible. The article in the Bibles is titled, “Why You Should Read the King James Bible,” written by the late Calvin Miller (died 2012). This is a major issue, and let us tell you 4 reasons why we believe Holman should not have done this:
1. Calvin Miller is an advocate for contemplative/centering prayer. Ray Yungen discusses Miller in A Time of Departing:
In Into the Depths of God, [Calvin] Miller encourages readers to engage in centering prayer and explains it as a union between man and God:
“Centering is the merger of two ‘selves’—ours and his [God’s]. Centering is union with Christ. It is not a union that eradicates either self but one that heightens both” (p. 107).
Into the Depths of God is an exhortation in contemplative spirituality and is brimming with quotes by Thomas Merton and other contemplatives. Miller speaks of the “wonderful relationship between ecstasy [mystical state] and transcendence [God],” and says that “Ecstasy is meant to increase our desire for heaven” (p. 96) (A Time of Departing, p. 186).
Into the Depths of God is riddled with favorable quotes by and references to a number of contemplative mystics. In addition to Thomas Merton, there is Evelyn Underhill, St. John of the Cross, Esther de Waal, Kathleen Norris, Hildegard of Bingen, Annie Dillard, Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Anthony (a Desert Father). In Miller’s newer book, The Disciplined Life, Miller again turns to the mystics. Miller also wrote The Path to Celtic Prayer (Celtic spirituality is another avenue through which contemplative is entering the evangelical church).
2. Secondly, Calvin Miller resonates with emergent teacher Marcus Borg. In Miller’s book, The Book of Jesus (2005), Marcus Borg writes an entire chapter for the book. Miller would never include an entire chapter of his own book if it was written by someone he did not resonate with. As Lighthouse Trails has revealed in past articles and books, Marcus Borg denies the tenets of the Christian faith including the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, and His atonement for sin. Roger Oakland discusses Borg in Faith Undone:
Borg explains in his book The God We Never Knew that his views on God, the Bible, and Christianity were transformed while he was in seminary:
“I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product. I learned that it is a human cultural product, the product of two ancient communities, biblical Israel and early Christianity. As such, it contained their understandings and affirmations, not statements coming directly or somewhat directly from God. . . . I realized that whatever “divine revelation” and the “inspiration of the Bible” meant (if they meant anything), they did not mean that the Bible was a divine product with divine authority.” (p. 125)
This attitude would certainly explain how Borg could say: “Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world” (p. 125) (from p. 196, Faith Undone).
There’s no possible way that Calvin Miller could have been familiar with Borg’s writings and not been aware of his blatantly anti-Gospel stance. This is a common problem that Lighthouse Trails has had in the past and continues to have that people we are critical of tend to resonate with those who are blatant in their New Age views, but they themselves appear to be relatively benign to the larger evangelical community (see Beware the Bridgers) (Also see a book review of one of Borg’s books.)
3. As we have shown above, Calvin Miller holds to contemplative persuasions. And yet, these Bibles have an article written by him within their pages. What this will do is point Bible readers to Miller and his writings and possibly even to Marcus Borg and his writings. To have Calvin Miller’s article in a Bible seems to be a terrible dichotomy: i.e., the Bible points people to the Gospel’s message of the Cross and man’s sinful state and need of a Savior while contemplative, as a movement, points people to man’s supposed divinity and diminishes the need for a Savior.
4. In view of Calvin Miller’s contemplative propensities, let’s briefly examine his article in the Holman Bibles, “Why You Should Read the King James Bible.” In the article, he lists three reasons why the KJV should be read: 1) it is the version your parents and grandparents read 2) it has literary and poetic strength and beauty, and 3) there is ease in memorizing verses in the KJV because of its “high literary resonance.” While these reasons all produce merit, the article seems to turn the KJV into more of a poetic book than the Word of God. While Lighthouse Trails is not in the category of what some call King James Only (in that that is the only version someone can get saved through), we do see it as a standard high above many of the Bible versions available today. Thus we have come to trust it more than others. We find it noteworthy of these two things: one, that emerging church figures (such as Phyllis Tickle who suggest it is a lovely book of poetic literature but not an authority in our lives and Tony Jones who minimizes the authority of the Bible as the Word of God) have done much to disregard the Bible as God’s inspired Word, and two, that the Holman Bibles include someone (Miller) who resonates with a man (Borg) who rejects the basic fundamentals of Christianity and Miller himself speaks of the poetic nature of the Bible.
Another Possible Ramification:
There are serious implications and possible ramifications regarding what is going on here. For instance, something many may not have considered: The King James Bible has no copyright on it because of its age. Bluntly put, anyone can do anything they want to that Bible and still call it the King James Bible. As an example, in some of Holman’s editions, they have changed the spelling of some words (e.g., Saviour to Savior). This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but how do we know what a particular publisher is changing and not changing? If they can change the spellings of words, they can also omit or change words and phrases. For instance, they could change or remove references to homosexuality (e.g., 1 Corinthians 6:9, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:27) or to the deity of Christ (e.g., Romans 9:5, Isaiah 40:3 – see more). While we do believe that the Lord will preserve and protect His Word, the “editing” of the Kings James Bible could become a free-for-all to emergent-leaning publishers.
Conclusion: Perhaps it would be a good idea to check inside your own Bibles and ones you are giving as gifts and make sure there are no articles written by contemplative and/or emerging authors. If any reading this feel compelled, here is the contact information for Holman Bible Publishers. If you do contact them, please ask them to remove the article by Calvin Miller in their Bible editions.
Note: Lighthouse Trails has put in two calls into Holman, but we have not yet heard back from anyone regarding this matter. Update: On the afternoon of April 8th, shortly after this article was posted, we received a phone call from someone who works at Holman Publishers. She is going to be passing this article onto the editorial department. We were told that LifeWay Resources is the parent company of B & H (Broadman & Holman).
Holman Bible Publishers
127 9th Avenue N
Nashville, TN 37234-0002
LTRP Note: Nearly two years ago, we issued this special report. With a newly elected Jesuit Pope in the Vatican, we thought it would be timely to repost this important article. It is also in booklet form as one of our new Print Booklet Tracts.
An Understand the Times/Lighthouse Trails Special Report
According to Bible prophecy, a one-world religion that will offer the promise of peace throughout the world is going to commence prior to Christ’s return. To most, this global body will seem like a wonderful thing and very possibly will be a pseudo-Christianity (coming in the name of “Christ”); however, contrary to how the masses will view it, it will actually help establish and set up the antichrist and his one- world government.
In order for this to happen, all religions must come together in an ecumenical plan. Today, as part of this Satanic scheme, the evangelical/Protestant church is being drawn seductively into the Roman Catholic church, largely through what we call “The Jesuit Agenda.” Incredibly, while the evidence is obvious to some, the majority of proclaiming Christians are not at all aware it is happening.
So, what should we expect if we are in the time when such a system unfolds? First, many who once were Protestant and evangelical will become ecumenical and eventually assimilate with the Roman Catholic church. Second, all religions will unite in solidarity of purpose. Understanding the Jesuit Agenda is essential if we are to understand how this worldwide deception will come about.
Who are the Jesuits?
Since its foundation, the Catholic papacy has been zealous and often brutal in its endeavor to establish the kingdom of the Pope (of whom it is believed within the Catholic church is headed by Jesus Christ). In fact, the Pope has been referred to as the “Vicar of Christ.” This determination was witnessed during the Inquisition where countless thousands, if not millions, died cruelly for resisting Rome. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs describes many of these atrocities.
While many believers in Christ during the Reformation period attempted to spread the truth that God’s Word was truly God’s Word and could not be squandered and kept hostage by the papacy and the Catholic Church, it was not long before the Counter Reformation was founded to bring the “Separated Brethren” back to the “Mother of All Churches.”
This Counter Reformation was largely headed by Ignatius Loyola, the man who founded the Jesuit Order in the mid 1500s and launched an all-out attack against those who dared stand against the papacy and Rome. This excerpt from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs gives us an idea of the nature and determination of this Counter Reformation:
The emperor Ferdinand, whose hatred of the Bohemian Protestants was without bounds, not thinking he had sufficiently oppressed them, instituted a high court to prosecute the reformers upon the plan of the Inquisition, with this difference, that the court was to travel from place to place and always to be attended by a body of troops. This court was conducted chiefly by Jesuits and from their decision there was no appeal, by which it may be easily conjectured that it was a dreadful tribunal indeed.
This bloody court, attended by a body of troops, made the tour of Bohemia. They seldom examined or saw a prisoner, for the soldiers were permitted to murder the Protestants as they pleased and then to make a report of the matter to them afterward.1
You see, the Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to do whatever it took to end the Protestant Reformation. The 1540 Constitution of the Jesuits states:
[L]et whoever desires to fight under the sacred banner of the Cross, and to serve only God and the Roman pontiff, His vicar on earth, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity,- let him keep in mind that he is part of a society, instituted for the purpose of perfecting souls in life and in Christian doctrine, for the propagation of the faith . . . Let all members know, and let it be not only at the beginning of their profession, but let them think over it daily as long as they live, that the society as a whole, and each of them, owes obedience to our most holy lord, the pope, and the other Roman pontiffs, his successors, and to fight with faithful obedience for God. (Emphasis added.)
While most Christians think that the Counter Reformation is a thing of the past because we are not seeing Inquisitions today, this movement continues until today and with renewed effort through various avenues of the evangelical/Protestant church. In a way, it is more insidious than the Inquisitions, because now it has infiltrated Christianity and is being disguised as the “new” Christianity. (Rick Warren promotes it as the “new” or second reformation.) But disguised or not, it is the Jesuit Agenda, and it is bringing about ecumenism and a one-world religion. And at the same time, it is attempting to destroy the message that so many died for – the message that Jesus Christ is not found in a wafer and a cup of juice to be re-crucified day after day but has died once and for all for the sins of man and offers a salvation that is an entirely free gift, unearned to those who believe on Him (Hebrews 7:27; 10:11-14).
Who Was Ignatius Loyola?
After a serious injury in the military and during a lengthy rehabilitation, Ignatius Loyola (b. 1491, d. 1556) turned his focus from “military enthusiasm to ghostly fanaticism.”2 Ignatius assumed the name and office of Knight of the Virgin Mary, seeing himself as Mary’s favorite. Ignatius wanted to start a new order, The Society of Jesus (or the Jesuits) and presented the idea to the Pope. He told the Pope that the idea had been inspired by heavenly revelations. At first, the Pope hesitated, but when Ignatius added a fourth vow (in addition to the regular poverty, chastity, and obedience), “absolute subservience to the pope,” promising to do whatever the Pope wanted and go wherever he wanted, the Pope agreed and sent the new order out to “invade the world.” While other monks of other orders sought to separate themselves from the world, the Jesuits went out into the world and obeyed whatever command the Pope gave. Often this was to win the world with the sword. No violent act was withheld if the order came from their top “general.”3
In time, the Jesuits entered the education system, especially that of the Protestants. The Jesuit maxim was: “Give us the education of the children of this day – and the next generation will be ours.”4 The Reverend W. C. Brownlee, D.D. stated: “They pretended to be converted and to enter into Protestant churches.” One Jesuit even boasted that the Jesuits were successfully able to imitate the Puritan preachers. They used trickery and deception to become “all things to all men.” Within 48 years, there were eleven thousand Jesuits around the world, quite a large number for back then. 5
By 1773, the order was abolished because of their horrible reputation of bloodiness, deception, and immorality. However, they were reinstated fully in 1814 by Pope Pius VII. Even by this time, the influence and infiltration into the United States by the Jesuits was significant.
In 1857, the Reverend W.C. Brownlee, D.D. compiled a book of a translated document called Secret Instructions of the Jesuits (found on the Boston College Libraries website, for one). While Catholic sources say that the Secret Instructions of the Jesuits is an untrue document, there is enough evidence to indicate that it is true indeed. Naturally, it is so indicting against the papacy and the Jesuit Order that one can understand from a human point of view why Catholic sources would say the document isn’t true. But the facts are that the Jesuit Order was performing brutal cruel acts to bring the world to “Christ” and the Mother Church and that they were infiltrating every area of society to do so. This cannot be denied. Brownlee’s book would be a worthwhile read for those who wish to understand more of the history of the Jesuits.
The Jesuit Oath
It is said that the ancient Jesuits took the Jesuit Oath. This has been refuted by Catholic sources as a true oath taken by Jesuits of the past; nevertheless, there is evidence enough that the oath did exist to include excerpts of it in this report. We have taken these excerpts from a book titled Political and Economic Handbook by Thomas Edward Watson published in 1916, and found in the Harvard College library:
I do declare from my heart, without mental reservation, that the Pope is Christ’s Vicar General and . . . He hath power to depose Heretical Kings, Princes, States . . . that they may safely be destroyed. Therefore, to the utmost of my power I will defend this doctrine. . . . I do further declare the doctrine of the Church of England, of the Calvanists [sic], the Huguenots, and other Protestants to be damnable and those to be damned who will not forsake the same.
I do further declare that I will help, assist, and advise all or any of His Holiness agents in any place wherever I shall be; and to do my utmost to extirpate [exterminate] the heretical Protestant doctrine, and to destroy all their pretended power. (p. 437)
In another version of the Jesuit Oath, the Jesuit is asked to promise that he will make “relentless war” against “all heretics, Protestants” and to “hang, burn, waste, boil, flay, strangle, and bury alive these infamous heretics” (found in U.S. House Congressional Record, 1913, p. 3216).
The Jesuit Agenda Today
While we are not saying that Jesuits today are murdering Protestants if they don’t convert to Catholicism, we are saying that the determination and efforts to convert Protestants back to the Mother Church still exist. Basically, while the methods may have changed, the plan and objectives have not. The following quote from an article titled “Essay on Popery” by Rev. Ingram Cobbin M.A. (taken from one edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) is insightful:
The Jesuits, though at times expelled or pretendedly so from Rome, have been its awful emissaries to augment its power. The intrigues and deceptions of these men would fill volumes, and the conveniency of their creed to deny or affirm anything, or assume any profession as it may serve their purpose, is too well known to need recapitulating here. These men have at times assumed so much that every papal state has alternately ejected them; and large numbers are now in this country—doubtless many under false colours —waiting the most favourable opportunities to corrupt the rising generation, and, as much as possible, restore the dark days of former ages. The Jesuits are unchangeable.
The Jesuits were driven in the past to bring back the lost brethren, and they are driven today with the same vision. Today, that vision is part of the pope’s Eucharistic Evangelization, drawing people to the Eucharistic Christ. The Eucharistic Evangelization is discussed at length in Another Jesus: The Evangelization of the Eucharistic Christ and in several articles on the Understand the Times website.
Jesuit (Mystical) Spirituality and the Protestant/Evangelical Church
So if the methods of converting lost or prodigal souls back to Rome have changed, what is the method to accomplish these goals today? It is largely through what is called Jesuit Spirituality. A 2002 book titled Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way reveals how the Jesuit order has had and continues to have a “great influence” in people around the world. It attributes this “vitality” to “its spirituality” which has also “evoked fierce loyalty and fierce opposition.”6
What is the spirituality of the Jesuits that was so controversial? By their very roots, Jesuits are proponents of mystical prayer practices. The founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, created “spiritual exercises” that incorporated mysticism, including lectio divina. Today, millions of people worldwide practice the “Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.”
One Jesuit priest who resonates with the mystical spiritual outlook is Anthony De Mello (d. 1987), author of Sadhana: A Way to God. De Mello is often quoted today by contemplative and emerging authors and embraced the mysticism of Hinduism. He stated:
To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. – Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28 (cited from A Time of Departing, by Ray Yungen, p. 75).
Ray Yungen explains that Sadhana “is very open in its acknowledgment of Eastern mysticism as an enrichment to Christian spirituality.”
It doesn’t take a long search to find De Mello within the evangelical/Protestant camp. In fact, Richard Foster, one of the pioneers of the evangelical spiritual formation (contemplative) movement wrote the introduction to one of De Mello’s books, The Sacrament of the Present Moment. In A Glimpse of Jesus, popular contemplative author Brennan Manning quotes De Mello. Amazon shows that De Mello’s book, The Sacrament of the Present Moment is cited in 82 books, some of which are written by some of evangelicalism’s most popular authors: John Ortberg, Richard Foster, Jan Johnson, Philip Yancey, and Calvin Miller – incidentally all these are contemplative advocates.
Another example of Jesuit influence in the evangelical/Protestant church is the Be Still DVD, where Richard Foster quotes 18th century Jesuit priest, Jean Nicholas Grou as saying: “O Divine Master, teach me this mute language which says so much.” This “mute language” Grou speaks of is the mystical “silence” practiced by contemplatives and mystics throughout all religions.
One of the key figures in the “new” progressive Christianity today is Leonard Sweet. Sweet has partnered on a number of occasions with Rick Warren and speaks at evangelical events frequently. In Sweet’s book, Quantum Spirituality, he states:
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center. . . . In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. (p. 76)
How fitting that Sweet would quote a Jesuit priest’s prediction about the “Christian” of the future.
Tony Campolo, another popular figure in the evangelical church, reveals something quite interesting in his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical. In the book, he explains the role mysticism had in him becoming a Christian. He explains:
I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. (p. 30, see “Coming to Christ Through Mysticism,” Oakland )
For skeptics who may need further evidence that Jesuit Spirituality has come into the evangelical/Protestant church, consider this. In 2006, Baker Books, one of evangelicalism’s top book publishers, released a book titled Sacred Listening: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola written by James Wakefield. A publisher description of the book states:
Central to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the Spiritual Exercises is a manual used to direct a month-long spiritual retreat. Now adapting these time-honored Exercises specifically for Protestant Christians, James L. Wakefield encourages readers to integrate their secular goals with their religious beliefs and helps them reflect on the life of Jesus as a model for their own discipleship.7
Wakefield’s book, devoted to the Jesuits and Ignatian Exercises, should be proof enough that the Jesuit Agenda has entered the Christian church and that mysticism is the tool by which the Jesuit Agenda is largely being brought into the lives of countless evangelicals and Protestants. Is it any wonder Wakefield’s book found praise within the Jesuit community? Armand M. Nigro, professor emeritus at the Jesuit school, Gonzaga University, said:
As a Jesuit for 62 years, I have been formed by the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, our principal founder. I rejoice, then, at the long-awaited publication of Sacred Listening. It will be for its readers, I hope, a classic manual for spiritual growth in genuine mystical prayer. (on back cover of book)
Incidentally, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message wrote an endorsement of Wakefield’s book on the front cover.
These are just a few of a great many examples where the “Jesuit Spirituality” has come into the Protestant church; thus this new modern (post-modern) mystical method to accomplish the goals of the papacy is working.
If Protestants and evangelicals can be convinced to practice mysticism (i.e., contemplative), this conditions them to begin embracing Rome and even all religions. It’s important to understand that mysticism is the bridge that unites all the religions of the world. In order to unite them, there would need to be a uniting, common denominator, so to speak. That common uniting medium is mysticism. Thomas Merton recognized this. In a conversation he was having with a Sufi master, the topic of Christian atonement arose. The Sufi master said this was an area they could never agree on, to which Merton replied:
Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy [atonement] 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.8 (Emphasis added.)
Tilden Edwards, co-founder of the Shalem Institute (where Ruth Haley Barton was educated), would agree with Merton. He said, “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality” (Spiritual Friend, p. 18). And in a New Age book titled, As Above, So Below, the author states (quoting Aldous Huxley) that “the metaphysical [mystical] that recognizes a divine reality” is the “highest common factor” that “links the world’s religious traditions.” And even evangelical-turned-emerging author Tony Campolo recognizes this commonality in mysticism when he states: “Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam” (pp 149-150).
Incidentally, when we say all the religions of the world uniting, we include the New Age movement (perhaps one of the largest “religions” in the world today). New Agers believe that in order to enter into an age of enlightenment (or Age of Aquarius), the world needs to become “vibrationally sympathetic,” meaning that a sufficient mass (critical mass) of people will need to engage in mystical prayer.9
The Counter Reformation Continues
Jesuit influence in the world today is everywhere: in the business world, in education, in government, and yes, in the evangelical/Protestant church. According toContemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way, there are over one million people living in the United States alone who have graduated from Jesuit high schools, colleges, and universities (Introduction, p. 1).
While there have often been tensions between the Pope and the Jesuit Order over various issues, the current Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, reassured the Jesuit commitment to Rome when he stated:
The Society of Jesus was born within the Church, we live in the Church, we were approved by the Church and we serve the Church. This is our vocation…[Unity with the pope] is the symbol of our union with Christ. It also is the guarantee that our mission will not be a ‘small mission,’ a project just of the Jesuits, but that our mission is the mission of the Church.”10
Where Else in Evangelicalism is the Jesuit Evangelism Showing Up?
Earlier this year, Understand the Times released an article titled Jerry Boykin and the Calvary Chapel Connection. It was a difficult article for many to read. People do not want to think that Christian leaders and pastors they have trusted for years would be so foolish as to associate with and promote someone who is part of a group that wants to bring the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church. But the fact is that a high officer in the Vatican’s Jesuitical, “Knights of Malta” was a featured speaker at a Calvary Chapel sponsored Preach the Word prophecy conference.
Another example, and I believe an important one, has to do with one of the most well-known and influential evangelical organizations in America. Robert Siciro is a Protestant turned Catholic Paulist priest, and he is one of the featured speakers in the very popular Truth Project by Focus on the Family. While the Paulist Order is not a Jesuit Order, it has basically the same objective as the Jesuit order with regard to winning souls for the Catholic church. According to one Catholic source , the Paulist order is “A community of priests for giving missions and doing other Apostolic works, especially for making converts to the Catholic faith.” Robert Siciro is President of the Acton Institute, an ecumenical think tank where, incidentally, there are scores of articles by or about those in the Catholic faith, including a number of Jesuits. Now, through the Truth Project, thousands and thousands of evangelical/Protestant Christians have been introduced, by way of proxy, to the Eucharistic Evangelization.
The Fatima Plan
For those who are not convinced that we are headed toward a one-world religion for “peace,” take a trip some time to Fatima, Portugal where annual pilgrimages bring people from the religions of the world to pray to “the queen of heaven,” also called “our lady of Peace.”
Pope John Paul II was dedicated to Mary and especially “Our Lady of Fatima.” He believed this entity saved him from an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981, on the anniversary of the so-called apparition’s appearance (to have first occurred in 1917).
People from all around the world have been coming to Fatima to pray to “Our Lady.” At a gathering for “world peace” in Fatima, Jesuit priest Jacques Dupuis stated:
The religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all. The other religious traditions in the world are part of God’s plan for humanity and the Holy Spirit is operating and present in Buddhist, Hindu and other sacred writings of Christian and non-Christian faiths as well. The universality of God’s kingdom permits this, and this is nothing more than a diversified form of sharing in the same mystery of salvation.11
Fatima is just another avenue through which the Jesuit Agenda is being accomplished.
Perhaps the best way to understand the Jesuit Agenda that undermines biblical Christianity is to recognize the move toward a so-called “social gospel” that unites the religions of the world for the cause of peace. Like mysticism, this social gospel is a vehicle through which all religions will be united. Who would have believed this could have happened to the Protestant evangelical church? But we have already been warned in Scripture that Satan’s ministers are “transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15).
Rick Warren has been one of the many pied pipers of this move to unite through “good works.” Called “America’s pastor,” Warren has become the evangelical/Protestant spokesperson for a one-world religion. His Purpose Driven model has become the battle cry for let just all get along and do good. We can work together as one for one common purpose – peace in the world.
Willow Creek has helped to escalate this global religious body through their Global Leadership Summits, where they are “bringing people together from all nationalities to complete our shared Kingdom assignment in the Church and beyond”12 (emphasis added). Warren and Hybel’s global agenda is moving full force throughout the earth today.
Rick Warren and Bill Hybels – protégés of Peter Drucker, by the way – have advanced the Jesuit Agenda by leaps and bounds. Many of these “new” Christianity, new reformation leaders have ignored the prophetic warnings of Jesus Christ’s soon return based on the signs we see from Bible prophecy. Instead, they promote the establishment of the kingdom of God with all the world’s religions.
The emerging church movement, which has been widely propagated by Warren, Hybels, and a host of other Christian figures, has been used by Satan to quickly bring about this worldwide deception by introducing mystical experiences and the social gospel to an entire generation of young people. Sensual experiences that tickle the flesh of the postmodern generation are often the same ones that Rome has used in the past to convince the faithful that they have encountered the God of the Bible. History reveals that history is repeating, and the same tools of delusion are being used over and over.
Those who shine the light on the Jesuit Agenda are considered to be conspiratorial crackpots. The prophets of the past when they exposed the Babylonian worship by the leaders of Israel were also deemed to be crazy, as have been Bible-believing Christians since Christianity began. One of those was John Huss (1372-1415). John Foxe describes what happened:
[Huss] compiled a treatise in which he maintained that reading the books of Protestants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe’s book on the Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy of those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines. . . . 13
Eventually Huss was arrested, and when he was brought before the council (of the papacy), he was mocked and called “A ringleader of heretics,” to which he replied:
My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so shameful? Truly I will do it and willingly.14
At 43 years of age, John Huss was burned at the stake, singing hymns during the brutal execution. Why was he called a “ringleader of heretics”? For standing up for biblical truth against the Pope and Rome.
Discerning Christians should be asking many questions. But one question that stands out foremost is: why are so few saying anything about the Jesuit Agenda? Do they see it but are afraid to speak? Or do they see it and are part of it?
Speaking of questions, Jesus asked one: “[W]hen the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find it in the pastors and theological professors? Will He find it in your own church? Or will He only find those who have remained silent?
Just as God raised up others to carry the torch of truth after Huss was eliminated from this earth, God will and is raising up others today who are willing to risk all to stand for the truth and speak against the lies.
To believers who are standing fast, look up, for “your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. . . . See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:6-11, 15-17)
- John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing edition), p. 169.
- Rev. W.C. Brownlee, D.D., Secret Instructions of the Jesuits, http://www.archive.org/details/secretinstructio00brow at Boston College Libraries archives
- From the Publisher’s description at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Listening-Discovering-Spiritual-Exercises/dp/080106614X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309703869&sr=8-1#_
- Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 109, as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 60.)
- Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions (A Uni-Sun Book, 1985 4th printing), p. 33.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolfo_Nicol%C3%A1s and see http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0801316.htm
- Jesuit theologian Father Jacques Dupuis, at the 2003 interfaith congress “The Future of God; http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c19.shtml
- John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Eureka, MT, Lighthouse Trails Publishing edition), pp.160-164.
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