Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholicism’
To Lighthouse Trails:
Good morning: this question is asked in sincerity, not contention. I believe I once read in one of your posts that Beth Moore was headed in the emergent church direction (or, perhaps it was in some sort of false teaching). I’ve recently attended one of her video courses and deliberately looked for evidence of this. I confess I didn’t find anything so I would appreciate your comments.
Concerned in Canada
We have never actually said (yet) that Beth Moore is heading in an emerging/emergent direction. However, we have said, and hold to our statement, that she is a proponent of contemplative spirituality. We have also said she is showing ecumenical propensity toward the Catholic Church in that she identifies the Roman Catholic church as being part of the Christian church. Here are a few links with documentation to back up our claims:
Linda, please keep in mind that just because a teacher does not promote false teachings in every one of their sermons or teachings or even in most of them does not mean they are not going in a particular bad direction. The worst kind of deception is the kind that is interspersed or hidden within more orthodox teachings, whether done intentionally or not. This provides a situation where followers are caught off guard and can be slowly pulled into deception because what they hear “most of the time” sounds OK. Lighthouse Trails contends that if a teacher or author is promoting contemplative spirituality (as Beth Moore has done in both the Be Still DVD and in her book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things – see links above: even Christianity Today considers Moore a contemplative proponent) and rather than warning about the dangers of Roman Catholicism is giving a pass to it, this teacher or author is heading in an emergent/interspiritual direction, and people should be warned. In essence, promoting contemplative spirituality and ecumenism outside biblical Christianity IS emergent. So by virtue of these things, we now can say that Beth Moore appears to be heading in an emergent direction.
COLLEGE ALERT: Letters to Lighthouse Trails Prove Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta) Has Gone Emergent
It is with deep concern that the following information is being presented to warn believers who are looking for a good Christian college to attend or in which to send their children.
Several years ago (2007), Lighthouse Trails posted an article about Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada that started out like this:
Prairie Bible Institute, a renown Bible college in Alberta, Canada, is showing strong signs that it is going in a contemplative direction. A concerned parent contacted Lighthouse Trails and told us about a Servant (the college magazine ministry) article that quoted New Age/goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. Unfortunately, this is not the only indication that the college may be succumbing to contemplative spirituality.
Our article also stated:
[T]he college seems to be caught up in the wave of mystical spirituality that is sweeping through the evangelical church. For instance, on the Prairie Bible Institute website, Professor Ritchie White lists a collection of writers of whom he says “have shaped both my mind and my heart in significant ways.” Three of those are Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, and Annie Dillard, all of whom have contemplative orientations. Prairie music instructor Vernon Charter uses a textbook by the late emerging church leader, Robert Webber (see Faith Undone). Charter’s list of Supplementary Books includes emergent leader Dan Kimball (The Emerging Church) and other books by Webber.
In addition to White’s book lists, Prairie Christian Academy (a ministry of PBI) teacher and former PBI instructor Dr. Steven Ibbotson teaches on the spiritual disciplines and includes the discipline of “Silence and Solitude.”
Then in 2010, Lighthouse Trails received a letter from a reader explaining that the school was looking for a new president, and word was that this was going to help PBI get back on the right path. That letter stated:
I was wondering if you had ever been told about the alumni from Prairie Bible College who have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church? One young woman, whose father is on senior staff at Prairie, converted to the Orthodox Church after being convinced by another recent convert. Also, another was a prominent student there (a Residence Assitant and on the Student Council leadership) also dabbles in Anglo-Catholicism and contemplative forms of prayer. These things were encouraged, apparently, by various professors and in most of their course books. This school is a hot bed for fostering seeds of Ancient Christian Mysticism, but is trying to make itself come across as being more conservative theologically with the recent resignation of President Dr. Jon Olhauser. I read your piece on Prairie already, but so much has developed since then, it would be good to research and publish again–something is really happening there and should be looked in to.
The new president turned out to be Mark Maxwell, grandson to the founder of the school. L.E. Maxwell. In a statement, soon after his appointment, Maxwell stated:
This is not about me. It’s about honouring the great tradition of a school that has for 88 years brought God’s Word to life around the world. At this point we need to focus time, attention, and resources on revitalizing our campus and rebuilding our Bible College program. We want to fill our dorms and classrooms by offering programs that will challenge and provide a foundation for life-long learning. Our constituency and churches can be a real help to us in communicating our renewed emphasis on Bible training. (source)
After Maxwell’s appointment to president of PBI, readers wrote to us and said let’s wait and see now if this new president can turn things around. So we waited. Five years to be exact. Then in February of 2015, Lighthouse Trails received the following letter:
Was looking for something else when I came across this. Haven’t checked what you have lately about Prairies Bible Institute but here is a bit of info to back up what you say, if you haven’t seen it already. They have been into emergent church for quite some time.Thanks for your continued diligence. E K. [The following sent to us by E.K. is a book review written by PBI’s Kelly Steffen (PBI Director of Student Development) in 2014. The book reviewed is by major contemplative figure Peter Scazzero:
“Recently one of my students came into my office with a gift. He said, ‘I have something for you that I think you will enjoy.’ The gift was a small devotional reading called, Daily Office: Remembering God’s Presence Throughout the Day by Peter Scazzero, published by Willow. This book was timely as it is something that I have been trying to incorporate into my daily life. Scazzero’s introduction begins with these words, ‘Most Christians today are struggling- especially when it comes to spending quiet time with God. You may be one of them. I thought… wow, he’s right, I do struggle and I am one of them. I better check what this devotional is all about.
“The word ‘Office,’ Scazzero suggests comes from ‘opus’ or work in Latin. He further articulates that ‘for the early church, the Daily Office was always the “work of God.” Each Office in the book has these elements: Silence, Stillness and Centering, Scripture, Devotional Reading, Question to Consider and Prayer. The Offices can be used in a group setting as well. The big idea says the author, is to create a rhythm of being with God.’
Well it has been a couple of weeks in the Daily Office. I have engaged in the Daily Office personally, with another student and unpacked a reading for my Impact Huddle- a regular meeting with my small group leaders. I have had a good time in the practice and presence of the Daily Office.
This book has rekindled rich times of Silence and Stillness, Scripture, Devotional Reading and Prayer. There have been times, mind you, that Scripture has sufficed on its own without the additional devotional tagged on the back. The big idea of rhythm is really the key. I heard today on the radio that latest research says, it takes twenty one days to form a habit. If your habit is not having a devotional life, may I suggest that the Daily Office may be a remedy that you want to check out.”
For an influential faculty member of Prairie Bible Institute to write such a review shows clearly that the school has delved into contemplative spirituality. To back up that statement, PBI also has a Spiritual Formation program. And the 2014 and 2015 textbook lists include books by Brian McLaren, Tim Keller, Richard Foster, John Stackhouse, N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways where Thomas instructs readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes), Mark Yaconelli, and Buddhist sympathizer, Catholic convert Peter Kreeft. There are also textbooks in the list that include social justice/new missiology themes throughout. Basically, PBI’s textbook lists are a who’s who of emergent/contemplative/new spirituality authors.
This week, to top this whole picture off, we received the following letter, giving a perfect example of the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality—interspirituality:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
It has come to my attention that Prairie Bible Institute at Three Hills, Alberta, Canada has recently held an event inviting a Roman Catholic bishop to speak to faculty and students.
My husband and I were present when President Mark Maxwell publicly confessed to the school drifting away from its foundational biblical roots and and prayed a prayer of repentance, stating it would return to a greater emphasis on God’s Word. We were hopeful, and yet skeptical at the same time. It appears that the compromise is continuing as the involve themselves in the ecumenical movement.
Below is the link, with the details copied from their website.
Keep up the good work! Blessings in Christ,
From PBI’s website:
Hear the Cry of the Poor: Catholic and Evangelical Dimensions of a Gospel Response
Consider Lectures exist to inspire dialogue on a variety of topics and are open to our student body, our staff and faculty, and anyone else who would like to be inspired and challenged in their thinking. This spring, Prairie is pleased to host Bishop Henry as he shares insights on how Catholics and Evangelicals can find common ground in hearing and presenting a Gospel response to the needs of the poor.
Pope Francis recently called Catholics to participate in ecumenical initiatives with Evangelicals. While this is a new development, Bishop Henry’s visit comes as part of his ongoing commitment to developing constructive ecumenical relations with evangelicals. This can be seen in his ongoing relationship with the Calgary Evangelical Ministerial Association, his participation in the 2014 conference ‘Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s mission together’ hosted by Ambrose University College, and his continued work in promoting shared biblical values on key moral issues at the forefront of Canadian civic life.
The Most Reverend Fred Henry has been Bishop for the RC Diocese of Calgary since 1998. Prior to that he has held the position of Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario and served as fourth Bishop of Thunder Bay from 1995 to 1998. In addition to his responsibilities in the Diocese of Calgary, Bishop Henry is a member of a number of commissions of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops related to education, healthcare and medical ethics.
LT CONCLUSION: For those parents and grandparents looking for a Christian college to send their young people to, Prairie Bible Institute is NOT a good choice. While the pickings are getting slimmer all the time with regard to Christian colleges, there are still schools out there that are not introducing their students to the likes of Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, Peter Kreeft, Gary Thomas, Pete Scazzero etc. and which are not joining up with the Catholic Church to “present the Gospel to a dying world.” How can evangelicals and Catholics do that when the Catholic “Gospel” is not the Gospel according to the Word of God (see Ironside on What is the Gospel?). Prairie Bible Institute has done a great disservice to the body of Christ and has put young students in terrible harm’s way. PBI leadership needs to seriously re-evaluate the biblical foundation of their school. Interspirituality is not biblical.
LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes only and not as an endorsement of the content. This is another example of how Christian leaders and figures are leading the way in bringing the evangelical/Protestant church “back to the Roman Catholic Mother Church.” It was just a few months ago that Amy Grant and numerous other well-known Christian musicians (including Chuck Girard, Dallas Holm, Michael W. Smith and Nicole Mullen) stood on stage with New Age sympathizer and Roman Catholic Roma Downey in an ecumenical concert saying “we are united.” A number of years ago, when Rob Bell was still pastor at Mars Hill in Michigan, he invited one of the Dominican Sisters of Mary to speak at his church. You can listen to a little of that service here where Bell and the Sister are leading the congregation through a contemplative practice.
“Thousands Flock to Michigan for Faith-filled Family Concert”
YPSILANTI, Mich., April 22, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — The first major concert for The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, enjoyed widespread success Sunday April 19 in Ypsilanti, MI. The Unite, Disciples of Christ concert at Eastern Michigan University, hosted by the Dominican Sisters of Mary and Spiritus Sanctus Academy brought together 4,000 attendees of all ages and backgrounds from all over the Midwest. The benefit concert featured some of the top names in the Christian music industry: Amy Grant, Matt Maher, Sanctus Real, Ike Ndolo, Jon Guerra and the Dominican Sisters of Mary. The acclaimed line-up performed for a captivated crowd for over 5 hours including special performances, which included all of the artists on stage together.
The press supported the Unite Concert as Amy Grant and Sr. John Dominic were guests on Kresta in The Afternoon, which is heard nationwide on Sirius/XM and Ave Maria Radio. The entire interview is available here. Additional coverage was also given by Son Rise Morning Show, Proclaim FM in Toledo, WMUZ in Detroit, The Michigan Catholic, Christian Review, and Smile FM, among others. Click here to continue reading this article.
The Walk to Emmaus is a program put on by Upper Room Ministries. Upper Room promotes Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality), and if you want to understand the dynamics of Walk to Emmaus, then understanding the spirituality of Upper Room will help you:
“The Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Cursillo Movement, which originated in Spain in 1949.” from the Walk to Emmaus website
Walk to Emmaus is widely spread. It is estimated that over half a million persons have experienced a Walk to Emmaus weekend and today the Movement counts more than 300 communities distributed all over the United States as well as all over the world.1
Mantra Meditation is promoted at Upper Room Ministries also:
“Mantra — The word comes from Sanskrit. Its two-syllabus mean: man or mind and tra or deliverance. A mantra is sound vibration that is intended to deliver the mind from distractions and a focus on the material world. A mantra is repeated like a chant and has a spiritual effect associated with the physical vibration. A mantra can be as simple as one syllable ‘OM’ or as more complicated such as, ‘OM SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM’.” From the Upper Room website (now removed)
“The Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Cursillo Movement, which originated in Spain in 1949.”2
List of places that do Walk to Emmaus
Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs by Gregory Reid is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs, click here
By Gregory Reid
Roma Downey first came into our lives and hearts as “Monica,” the angel-in-training in the successful television series Touched by an Angel. A feel-good, moral, and New Age tinged show, many people’s memory of Downey was her angel character saying, in an angelic Irish brough, “God luvs ya!”
Years passed. Suddenly, Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett lit up the media sky with their successful television miniseries, The Bible. Christians—especially those with fond memories of Monica—were thrilled at the presentation of the Bible by what seemed to be the newly evangelical team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, founder of the Lightworkers media company. The church embraced them—no questions asked. (Note: Even the name of their production company, Lightworkers should have been a strong indication. In the New Age, a lightworker is “any being dedicated to the cultivation of inner presence and the elevation of awareness in self and other selves. This being is called a lightworker and is an evolutionary step toward a state of ‘LightBeing.’”1)
Unfortunately, our longing for affirmation and importance in “the real world” and desire to be accepted and “relevant” in this media-soaked age has created a church that will accept anyone who utters the name “Jesus” as one of us without asking any questions as to what they really believe.
Thus is the case of the meteoric rise and wholesale embracing of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
After The Bible series came the movie Son of God. It was the most highly promoted Christian event I can remember in forty years. Soon Burnett and Downey were on nearly every Christian television and radio program.
They sound like us. They say the right things. And in some ways, they are more Christ-behaving and giving than many professing Christians.
But they are not of us. Roma Downey is, in fact, a New Age initiate. She is not just a “dabbler.” She hasn’t merely gotten a few unsanctified New Age ideas. She is, in fact, a deeply committed follower of the New Spirituality and its ideas.
5 Reasons Why I Believe Roma Downey is a New Age Initiate
1. A Graduate of a New Age University
In 2010, Roma Downey graduated with a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica in California. USM is a New Age training center. The school’s founder, the late John-Roger, is one of the most well-known New Age teachers over the last thirty years.2 Experiencing an auto accident when he was young, a spirit he identified as the “mystic traveler” began to speak to him, then “through” him. Everything he did and taught was based on that experience. He was a “trance channeler,” and his organization, MSIA or Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, is well known in the New Age world. This is some of what he and his organization teaches:
When a person participates in MSIA and works with the Mystical Traveler, that person is, if anything, “submitting” to himself/herself, to the Christ within, to the God within. And that is really a joyous surrender to love. . . . [T]o be an initiate of the Traveler is to devote yourself to the God within you, to devote yourself to Spirit, to returning to your home, the Soul, from which you originally came before you incarnated onto this earth. It means devoting yourself to working out the karma you’ve accrued while being here and to releasing yourself from that karma through grace and your good works, so that you are free to rise into the heart of God.3
If you feel you aren’t worthy of God, that you’re too small or not as good as God, then stand up. Face God on equal terms, as a co-creator and one who also owns the sun, the moon and the stars.4
This is the teacher—and the foundation of the education—that Roma Downey is proud to have learned under and graduated from. Of her education at USM, Downey claims:
It’s heightened my awareness . . . The skills I learned at USM are so simple and effective . . . It was a beautiful exploration . . .USM is at the cutting edge of transforming people. (*)
There is no way she could have gone through this university without knowing exactly what it stands for. A believer in Jesus Christ and in His Word would have never gone to such a school, and if a person became a born-again believer after attending, she would publicly renounce her participation. Unfortunately, Roma Downey was still finishing her degree in spiritual psychology when she gave her interview about the Bible series.5
What kinds of things was Downey learning in her education at Santa Monica University? Let’s take a look:
Experiencing enhanced spiritual awareness through knowing yourself as a Divine Being having a human experience.
Tools for spiritual evolution.
Working with the patterns associated with each of the eight chakra centers in service to deep healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and within the unconscious, with the focus of further awakening to the Authentic Self.6
From their own curriculum description, we read:
[Spiritual Psychology] empowers them to convert their everyday life experiences into rungs on the ladder of Spiritual Evolution . . . Spiritual Psychology is the study and practice of the art and science of human evolution in consciousness.
Practically, it means learning how to surrender—or let go of— anything that disturbs one’s peace. It also means sacrificing our illusions of separation. Essentially, this “surrendering” and “sacrificing” is work that can and has been called “healing,” which includes healing on the physical, mental, and emotional levels in service to the deeper revelation of who we truly are as Loving, Peaceful, Compassionate, and Joyful beings. We refer to this level of awareness as the Authentic Self. . . . And, by the way, assuming we get through the current challenges, these very same skills will be exactly the same ones that will be highly valued as we transform into a more peaceful highly globalized world.7
2. Involved With Channeler’s CD
Roma Downey recited a rosary prayer for a CD called Practical Praying by John Edward.8 Edward is a psychic medium best known for his TV show in which he has talked to the dead. Downey has been on his show and allowed him to “channel” her “mother.”9
3. Resonates With Famous New Age Gurus
Roma Downey is an avid reader of New Age material by well-known New Age/New Spirituality writers Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle, both who are worlds away from any biblical truth. Tolle, for instance, teaches that divinity (i.e., God) is within all human beings. His spirituality resonates with someone like Matthew Fox, author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, a book that teaches a christ-consciousness is in all people. Contrary to what a Bible-believing Christian would say, in a women’s magazine article, Downey says:
My kids go to school about a 40-minute drive away. . . . On the way back, I get my own selections—books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins . . . My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating.”10
4. Has Deep Connections with a Major New-Thought Teacher
Roma Downey’s acknowledged mentor is Della Reese, her angel-boss Tess on Touched by an Angel. In addition to co-starring together for eight years on the T.V. show, Della Reese is Downey’s daughter’s godmother11 and also officiated at the 2007 wedding of Downey and Mark Burnett.12 Given the fact that Downey has been so influenced by Della Reese, it’s important to take a few moments to examine Reese’s beliefs.
Reese, a well-known and acclaimed singer and actress for many years, is also the pastor of Understanding Principals for Better Living Church (UpChurch) in southern California. Her own mentor is the late minister Johnnie Colemon,13 founding pastor of the megachurch Christ Unity Center in Chicago and a pioneer of the “new thought” movement, a New Age metaphysical teaching based on “healing meditation and positive thought.”14 On Reese’s church website, she expresses her views on God:
God is everywhere, evenly, equally present! Omnipresence. (There is no spot or situation where God is not!)
God is all the power in the universe! Omnipotence. (God is all there is, there is nothing else!)
God is all the wisdom/intelligence in the universe! Omniscience. (In the beginning, God!)
All humankind is made in the image-likeness of God. We are all spiritual beings having a human experience.15
While these ideas have shreds of scriptural backing, Reese is actually presenting a New Age view of God’s omnipresence and power. In her 2013 book, Metaphysically Speaking, Reese states, in speaking of herself (and all people):
All that God is I am, and all that God has is mine. I am omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. (I am evenly present, all knowing, and all powerful.) I am life, intelligence, love and power. I am the temple, in which God lives. I am that from which all love springs, and I am wisdom, power, strength and substance. I am absolute wholeness and perfection.16
Reese believes that man has all of the attributes of God, making him omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient—like God. On her website, she gives a list of some of the people (and books) she admires and emulates, calling them “Great Spiritual Leaders.” Her list, of which I am naming a few, clearly reveals Reese’s New Age/New Thought spiritual affinities—
A. New Age guru Eric Butterworth—Discover the Power Within You. Researcher and author Ray Yungen discusses Butterworth’s book:
In line with Unity teaching, the book [Discover the Power Within You] expounds on the “Divinity of Man” as perceived through mystical practice. . . . Eric Butterworth teaches that God isn’t “up there.” He exists inside each one of us, and it’s up to us to seek the divine within.17 (emphasis added)
B. Dr. Barbara King—Transform Your Life. The Reverend King is an interfaith New Thought minister whose mentor is also Johnnie Colemon. On King’s website, she greets visitors with the saying Namaskar (i.e., namaste, meaning the god in me greets the god in you).
C. Ernest Holmes—The Science of Mind. The late Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) was “the founder of the Church of Religious Science, and his book The Science of Mind is regarded by many in the occult as a New Age “Bible.”18 According to apologist Dave Hunt, The Science of Mind “teaches that Man controls the course of his life . . . by mental processes which function according to a Universal Law . . . that we are all creating our own day-to-day experiences . . . by the form and procession of our thoughts.19 Author and lecturer, Mike Oppenheimer explains that Holmes “believed what nearly every occultist does: ‘Man, by thinking, can bring into his experience whatsoever he desires.’”20 This is not a biblical concept but is definitely a New Age one, rooted in the idea that man is God.
On Della Reese’s website, she also lists Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein (How to Live), Charles Roth (Mind: The Master Power), Norman Vincent Peale, and Robert H. Schuller.
Reese’s base theology clearly comes from New Spirituality teachers. To her, Jesus should not be considered as the only way to the Father. Rather, He is just a “way-shower,”21 someone who points the way (as opposed to being the Way). As Downey’s spiritual mother and cherished mentor, it is not an exaggeration to say that Della Reese has had a significant influence on Downey’s own metaphysical New Age beliefs.
5. Gives Hearty Endorsement for Book Promoting Spirit Guides and Panentheism
Roma Downey endorsed a New Age book titled Loyalty to Your Soul by Ron and Mary Hulnick (published by the New Age publisher, Hay House). Of the book, Downey stated:
As a USM graduate, I know firsthand the value I received from participating with Ron and Mary in the Master’s degree Program in Spiritual Psychology. I am so grateful to have Loyalty to Your Soul to sweetly remind me of all I have learned. . . . The teachings in this beautiful book have sent me on a journey to the very center of my own being where, wrapped in the safe wings of Love, I feel as though I have come home.22
Downey’s endorsement in the Hulnick’s book is nestled in with prolific New Agers like Barbara Marx Hubbard, Joan Borysenko, and Gay Hendricks (The Corporate Mystic). By the way, Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God), the New Ager who said, “Hitler didn’t hurt anyone . . . he didn’t inflict suffering, he ended it,”23 wrote the foreword to Loyalty to Your Soul. Clearly, Downey read the Hulnick’s book and resonates deeply with it to say what she did about it. To get an idea of this “journey” that Downey is on, listen to a few quotes from Loyalty to Your Soul:
Lord, God of all Creation, we ask now that we be cleared, filled, surrounded, and protected with the clear Light of the sacredness of Spirit. We ask for the presence, protection, guidance, and Love of the Divine Beings [spirit guides] who work with each of us.24 (from the “Invocation”—emphasis added)
When people speak of spirituality, they simply mean awareness of the sacred reality of the Divine Essence within and beyond all creation.25
Those familiar with New Age teachings will recognize such statements as being the core essence of the occult (that man is divine) and that there are spirit guides who help us through life. Loyalty to Your Soul is a contemporary version of A Course in Miracles (the New Age “Bible”).
A Need to Warn
While I bear no animosity toward Mark Burnett or Roma Downey and truly love and care about them, I have great concern for their spiritual state. I fear that the likelihood of them finding the true Jesus Christ is greatly hindered by the evangelical leaders and pastors who have surrounded them, adored them, courted them even—without discerning whether they are of the biblical Christian faith. Questions are not being asked to uncover their true beliefs. If these leaders really care about Burnett and Downey, they would seek out the truth about their beliefs and warn them of the dangers of New Age thought. Such forthrightness could potentially help Burnett and Downey come to find a relationship with Him that is based, not on the false premises of the New Age but rather “on the repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
When the History Channel movie series was first released, I had deep concerns because I knew where Roma Downey stood spiritually. Then when Son of God was going to be released, I saw the overwhelming acceptance and embracing of Downey and her husband.
When a major Christian book retailer started stocking The Story of God and All of Us, a book based on the movie The Bible with Downey and Burnett as authors, I felt I needed to inform the bookstore’s representatives of my concerns. I received a brief e-mail reply in which the representative said, “yes, we are aware of some issues,” but they decided to release it “for the greater good” in spite of the issues. What he ended with completely floored me:
I listened to Roma Downey tell about her involvement in making the miniseries and was impressed by her powerful Christian testimony.
It was as if nothing I had brought to his attention made him think that Roma Downey was anything but someone “with a powerful Christian testimony.”
It became clear to me that people were unwilling to consider these concerns. With all this in mind, would it not be of great importance, considering Downey’s vast influence on Christians, to ask some very crucial questions. Roma Downey says in interviews she loves Jesus, and that has been the basis of the broad acceptance of her and her movies by Christian leaders and pastors.
Here is the simple truth: Either Mark Burnett and Roma Downey know exactly what they are doing and are aware of their role in bringing about synchronicity between Christianity and all faiths, or they do not know the difference between what they believe and what the Bible teaches. If it is the first, then Christians are in real danger in letting them even deeper into their circles of influence. If they do not, then Christians who are accepting them are indeed poor stewards of God’s things and God’s house. What’s more, if those in positions of influence know that Roma Downey represents another belief system foreign to the faith we hold dear and choose to ignore this for the greater good of spreading the good news, then they should be in great fear. For it is their responsibility to care for the flock:
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Acts 20:29)
Last year at the 2014 National Religious Broadcasters Convention, I had a unique opportunity to personally hand Roma Downey a copy of my friend Warren B. Smith’s testimony book, The Light That Was Dark.26 I do not know if she has read it, but I do believe God, in His mercy, is reaching out and trying to save her and Mark Burnett. I have written this booklet with the understanding that these are people Jesus died to redeem, and He loves them. Scripture tells us:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Questions for Roma Downey
I have put together a set of questions that needs to be asked and answered by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey:
Do you believe Jesus is the only way to God?
Do all humans have the “Christ spirit?”
Is every human being divine or containing a divine essence?
Do you believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God and the final authority of truth?
Knowing that the Bible forbids necromancy, are you sorry you worked with John Edward?
Is what you learned from John-Rogers University compatible with your Christian faith?
Do you now see the error in endorsing New Age books that promote spirit guides and the divinity of man, two concepts clearly rejected in the Bible?
These are reasonable and crucial questions, and it’s the responsibility of Christian pastors and leaders to ask them rather than continue to promote people who by all appearances are following another Jesus and another gospel than the one to which the Scriptures attest.
In January of 2015, Roma Downey was asked to host one of the largest contemporary Christian music events in decades. Over thirty well-known veteran musicians shared the platform with Downey. Some of those performing included Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Don Moen, Mark Schultz, Sandi Patti, Travis Cottrell (Beth Moore’s worship leader), Chuck Girard and Love Song, Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Green, Dallas Holm, The Imperials, and Nicole Mullen. A Lighthouse Trails report expressed concerns over the implications of this event:
It is a sad state of affairs when a concert, billed as “the greatest night in the history of contemporary Christian music,” uses a highly New Age- and Catholic-influenced celebrity to help open and close the event, which is basically making a statement to viewers as well as the church at large that Christianity is compatible with all beliefs.27
If we are willing to ignore or accept the clear biblical conflicts, which Downey has presented to us for the greater good, then how much more will we be willing to overlook next time? The evangelical/Protestant church is already on a steady slide to doctrinal dissolution and rejection of the biblical essentials of the faith through the “new Christianity” that has surfaced in countless churches, ministries, and Christian colleges and seminaries. Every compromise is a snowflake in the avalanche we are witnessing.
What happens when the average Christian or church-goer goes to see a Downey movie and thinks, “I wonder what else Roma has done?” And then he finds himself getting Downey’s CD done with necromancer John Edward or reading Eckhart Tolle or Tony Robbins or heading to Della Reese’s UpChurch website and slowly becoming seduced by another Jesus? This will be the “fruit” of Roma Downey’s influence on millions of people, both Christian and non-Christian. Where are the warnings by Christian leaders and pastors about dangerous seductions coming into the church and compromising truth?
The New Age that Roma Downey promotes exalts man to an equality in holiness, virtue, and essence with God. If indeed the New Age is right and man really is divine, then the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the Cross would not have been necessary. And in fact, if man truly is divine, then Jesus dying for the sins of the world would be of no effect and would be in vain for He would have died for those who were just as holy and good as He was.
Let us pray for Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, that their eyes would be opened and that they would come to repentance, turning away from the New Age “gospel” and to Jesus Christ wholly. Let us remember that we too were once in darkness and ignorant of the true Savior, and He redeemed us from a dark pit. Let us also do all we can to hold our leadership’s feet to the fire to ensure they do not promote those things which weaken and even destroy the testimony of God in the world today.
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, which ye have heard (Colossians 1:21-23)
To order copies of Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs, click here
4. John Morton, D.S.S., MSIA Spiritual Director, “Your Ultimate Safe Harbour” (New Day Herald, http://www.msia.org/newdayherald/archives/10543-your-ultimate-safe-harbor.
6. USM Brochure, www.universityofsantamonica.edu/PDFs/USM_Brochure.pdf.
10. First for Women magazine, 03/31/14, pp. 44-45.
15. UpChurch website: http://www.upchurch.org/index.php?page=teachings.
16. Della Reese, Metaphysically Speaking (Lett Reese International Publishing, 2013, Kindle Edition), location 109.
17. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed.), pp. 102-104.
18. Warren B. Smith, A “Wonderful” Deception (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press), p. 43.
19. Dave Hunt, Seduction of Christianity (Eugene, OR: Harvest House), p. 21.
20. Mike Oppenheimer, “The Secret Behind the Secret” (http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac38.htm, citing Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind (Peerless Communications, 2011 Kindle Edition, which is the 1926 Complete Unedited Edition), Kindle location 1243.
22. Her endorsement of the book is inside the front cover of the book.
23. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 1997), p. 56.
24. Hulnick Ph.D., H. Ronald; Mary R. Hulnick Ph.D., Loyalty to Your Soul (Hay House. Kindle Edition, from the Invocation).
25. Ibid., p. 8.
26. Warren B. Smith, The Light That Was Dark (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press): This book chronicles the life of Warren B. Smith when he was heavily involved with the New Age. Smith describes the role that A Course in Miracles played in his and his wife’s lives. In essence, what Roma Downey is endorsing and promoting is the spirituality of A Course in Miracles, the quintessential New Age “bible.”
To order copies of Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs, click here
We cannot fully comprehend the meaning of the Eucharist without understanding the term transubstantiation. Catholic author Joan Carroll Cruz provides the following definition:
The word officially approved by the Council of Trent to express the changing of the entire substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. After the Consecration only the appearances, or “accidents” (color, taste, smell, quantity, etc.) of bread and wine remain.1
During the act of consecration (performed by a priest), the bread (wafer) and wine miraculously are transformed into the actual presence of Jesus Christ. While the bread and wine may appear to be still bread and wine following the consecration, a mystical process has occurred, it is believed. Thus, Jesus is supposed to be physically present on the altar and physically eaten when the recipient ingests the consecrated wafer.
The January/February 2000 issue of Envoy Magazine (a bimonthly journal of Catholic apologetics and evangelization) further confirms what I am saying. The purpose for publishing this magazine “is to present the truths of the Catholic Faith in a fresh, contemporary style, featuring today’s top Catholic writers, full color-graphics, and an upbeat innovative format.”2
Located on the front cover of this issue is an illustration that shows the hands of a Catholic priest holding up a consecrated wafer, the sky and clouds in the background. The title on the magazine cover reads: “This Looks Like Bread, Tastes Like Bread, and Feels Like Bread. Is this GOD?” The “O” (which is actually the consecrated wafer) is the conspicuous object on the cover. One article in this issue is written by David Armstrong, who states:
[L]et’s take a look at the actual nature of what occurs in the miracle of transubstantiation. Accidental change occurs when non-essential outward properties (accidents) are changed in some fashion. For example, water can take on the properties of solidity as ice, and of vapor as steam…. In our every day natural experience, a change of substance is always accompanied by a corresponding change of accidents, or outward properties. One example would be the metabolizing of food, which literally changes to become part of our bodies as a result of digestion.
But the Eucharist is a supernatural transformation, in which substantial change occurs without accidental change. Thus, the outward properties of bread and wine continue after consecration, but their essence and substance are replaced by the substance of the true and actual Body and Blood of Christ.3
It is important to mention that Armstrong is a convert to Catholicism. He confides that at one time, he did not understand the importance of transubstantiation. However, Armstrong now asks: “How could I … have had such an insufficient understanding of the Holy Eucharist: the central focus of Christian worship?”4
Like many others who have converted to Catholicism, Armstrong was enlightened to the significance of the Eucharist by studying the Church Fathers. He writes:
The evidence for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, among the Church Fathers, is the most compelling of any historic Christian doctrine which Protestants now dispute.5
Now Armstrong is convinced that the consecrated wafer and wine is God and that it is the true and actual body and blood of Christ. He concludes:
This is what requires faith, and what causes many to stumble, because it is a miracle of a very sophisticated nature, one that doesn’t lend itself to empirical or scientific “proof.” But, in a sense, it is no more difficult to believe than the changing of water to ice, in which the outward properties change, while the substance (molecular structure) doesn’t. The Eucharist merely involves the opposite scenario: the substance changes while the outward properties don’t.6
The Power of the Priest
According to Catholic documents, Catholic priests have the power to manifest the presence of Jesus on an altar. At the moment of Consecration, the miraculous process known as transubstantiation supposedly occurs. As Joan Carroll Cruz states in her book Eucharistic Miracles:
The wafer of unleavened bread which becomes the Body and Blood of Christ at the moment of Consecration in the Mass. (One large Host for the priest and many small Hosts for the congregation are consecrated at Mass). The word derives from the Latin hostia, or “victim” since in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Jesus Christ offers Himself to God the Father as the victim and propitiation for our sins. (Thus each Mass is the renewal of the one Sacrifice of Calvary).7
To support this view, Catholics claim that transubstantiation was taught by Jesus at the Last Supper. Further, it is also believed it was at this time that Jesus anointed His disciples with this power to transform bread and wine into the actual presence of Christ. In turn, the Catholic Church teaches that this power was then transferred down through the centuries to a select chosen priesthood by apostolic succession and priestly ordination.
David Pearson, another contributing author for Envoy Magazine, explains this scenario in his article “Do Catholics Worship Cookies?” He writes:
[T]he first communicants received the First Communion from the Great High Priest himself. The unblemished Lamb of God, about to be sacrificed for their sins and those of the whole world for all time, fed his twelve Apostles—our first band of bishops—His very body and blood, under the appearance of bread and wine, from His own hand.
That’s what happens today in every Mass. Jesus, God’s perfect Passover lamb, uses the graces of apostolic succession and priestly ordination (the “laying on of hands” in the early Church) to feed every generation on His flesh and blood until He returns in glory.8
Pearson quotes former Protestant, now Catholic Scott Hahn saying, “When Jesus comes again at the end of time, He will not have a single drop more glory than He has right now upon the altars and in the tabernacles of our churches.” Hahn adds:
Today, even though we are thousands of miles from that little hill in Israel, we are there with Jesus in the upper room, and we are there with Jesus in heaven, whenever we go to Mass.9
Scott Hahn on the Power of Priests
Scott Hahn is not only a convert to Catholicism but is also a zealous promoter of the Eucharist. Both he and his wife Kimberly have testified that the Eucharist played a major role in their conversion to the Catholic Church. Hahn, a theology professor at a Catholic University in Steubenville, Ohio, and author of a number of books, also writes a regular column called “Scripture Matters” for Envoy Magazine. In an article titled “The Paternal Order of Priests,” he enthusiastically reminds Catholic priests of the power they have been endowed with. He writes:
As priests of the New Covenant, you are conformed to Christ in a unique and powerful way. Christian tradition speaks of ordination in the most astonishing terms. It is a commonplace of Catholic speech to say that the priest is alter Christus, another Christ. The Catechism tells us further that the priest acts “in the person of Christ” and like Christ, he is a “living image of God the Father.” Through the ministry of ordained priests, the presence of Jesus Christ “is made visible in the community of believers.”10
Elevating the priesthood to a level of godhood, Hahn exalts ordinary sinful men, by saying:
Theologians refer to the ontological change—a change in the man’s very being—that occurs with the sacrament of Holy Orders. Ordination “confers an indelible spiritual character” that is permanent and imprinted … forever.”11
Then comparing this supernatural transformation attributed to priesthood with the transformation that occurs during the consecration of the Host, Hahn states:
The great Cappadocian Father Gregory of Nyssa compared this sacramental change to the transubstantiation that occurs in the Eucharist. “The bread,” he explains, “is at first common bread. But when the sacramental action consecrates it, it is called the Body of Christ … The same power of the word makes the priest worthy of veneration and honor. The new blessing separates him from common, ordinary life. Yesterday he was one of the crowd, one of the people. Now, suddenly he has become a guide, a leader, a teacher of righteousness, an instructor of hidden mysteries. And this he does without any change in body and form. But while he appears to be the man he was before, his invisible soul has really been transformed to a higher condition by some invisible power and grace.”12
Vatican spokesman and Catholic priest Tom Forest says that true evangelization is not complete in a Christian’s life until he or she becomes Catholic. He points out the importance of the sacraments. Catholic sources state that the sacrament of the Eucharist is the most important sacrament. For example, in Eucharistic Miracles, Joan Carroll Cruz, writes:
[The Eucharist is] the Sacrament in which, under the appearances of bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ are truly, really and substantially present as the grace-producing food of our souls. More specifically, the consecrated Host and the consecrated “wine,” that is, the Precious Blood.13
Or according to the Catholic Catechism, we read:
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For the blessed Eucharist is contained in the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”14
Further, to make it absolutely clear the Eucharist is at the heart and core of what it means to be a Catholic, the Catechism further notes:
In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.15
According to Catholic teachings, the Eucharist represents Christ as a sacrifice for sins and that during the “sacrifice of the Mass,” Christ is daily being sacrificed for our sins. The Catholic Catechism states:
The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner.16
It should be apparent then that the Eucharistic Jesus present on every Catholic altar is of paramount importance to Catholicism and the Catholic faith. Truly the Eucharistic Jesus is the Jesus of Catholicism. However, this Eucharistic Christ is NOT the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
1. Joan Carroll Cruz, Eucharistic Miracles (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. xiii, Imprimatur, Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, April 25, 1986, p. xxii.
2. Envoy Magazine, “What is Envoy’s Mission?” (http://www.envoymagazine.com/guidelines.html, accessed 09/2007).
3. David Armstrong, “Is This God?” (Envoy Magazine, January/February 2000, http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/4.1/god.htm, accessed 09/2007).
7. Joan Carroll Cruz, Eucharistic Miracles, op. cit., p. xxi.
8. David Pearson, “Do Catholics Worship Cookies?” (Envoy, Volume 7.2, 2003), p. 14.
10. Scott Hahn, “The Paternal Order of Priests: An Open Letter to Our Catholic Clergy, In a Time of Crisis” (insert in Envoy, Volume 7.2, 2003) in insert.
13. Joan Carroll Cruz, Eucharistic Miracles, op. cit., p. xxi.
14. Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York, NY: Doubleday, First Image Books edition, Second Edition, April 1995), para. 1324, pp. 368-369.
15. Ibid., para. 1327, p. 369.
16. Ibid., para. 1367, p. 381.
My Journey Out of Catholicism by David Dombrowski
Rick Warren: Protestants, Catholics Must Unite to Defend Life, Sex, Marriage – ‘We’re on the Same Team’
LTRP Note: This article is posted for research and informational purposes and not as an endorsement for the content.
By Michael Chapman
By CNS News
Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who leads the eighth largest church in America, Saddleback Church, and is the author of the hugely popular book The Purpose Driven Life, said that Protestants and Catholics must form a “unity of missions” to defend the sanctity of life, sex, and the family, stressing that, “If you love Jesus, we’re on the same team.”
“We have far more in common than what divides us,” said Pastor Warren in an interview with Catholic News Service. “When you talk about Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, fundamentalists, Catholics, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, on and on, they would all say we believe in the Trinity.”
“We believe in the Bible,” he continued. “We believe in the resurrection; we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. These are the big issues.”
Warren, along with leaders of other faiths and denominations, attended a conference at the Vatican in November – the “Complementarity of Man and Woman” — to discuss and defend the family and marriage as being between one man and one woman, and related topics. He made his comments in the video in December. Click here to continue reading.
* Please refer to the “Road to Rome” Booklet Tracts for information related to this issue. These booklets can also be read on our blog by just typing in the title into the blog search engine.