I’m excited that @lancewitt will be joining the TRBC team in January. Another hand on deck to help us reach people for Christ.
The Human Resources department at Thomas Road Baptist Church has confirmed that Witt will be coming on staff on January 5th, 2010.
Jonathan Falwell is the son of the late Jerry Falwell and pastors his father’s church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Concerns by some have grown since the passing of the elder Falwell. In a 2008 Lighthouse Trails report “Jonathan Falwell Becomes Vice-Chancellor at Liberty – Which Direction will Liberty Go?,” it was pointed out that Liberty University (where Jonathan Falwell serves as Vice-Chancellor) is using contemplative/emerging authors in their classrooms and other venues. One of those mentioned in the report is Rob Bell. The influence of Richard Foster, contemplative pioneer, is also evident at Liberty. For example, in a Code of Ethics for the AACC on Liberty’s website, it states:
Although rooted primarily in an orthodox evangelical biblical theology, this Code is also influenced (according to the paradigm offered by Richard Foster) by the social justice, charismatic-pentecostal, pietistic-holiness, liturgical, and contemplative traditions of Christian theology and church history.
Additionally, Richard Foster’s books have been used in classes at Liberty as have Henri Nouwen’s, Erwin McManus’ and a number of other contemplative/emerging figures.
While many may not know the name Lance Witt, Lighthouse Trails has written about him in the past. He has served as an Executive Pastor at Saddleback. In a LT article titled “Is Saddleback a Contemplative Church,” it states:
In an article written by Saddleback pastor, Lance Witt, titled “Enjoying God’s Presence in Solitude,” Witt says we are “designed to enjoy the presence of God, but that’s easier said than done.” In the article, Witt uses Thomas Merton as an example of someone who knew about solitude. But Merton’s solitude was connected to his Buddhist sympathies. Merton likened contemplative prayer to an LSD trip.
Witt finishes his article with:
The goal of solitude is not so much to unplug from my crazy world, as it is to change frequencies so that I can hear the Father. Richard Foster has said, “Solitude doesn’t give us the power to win the rat race, but to ignore it altogether.”
What does Witt mean by “changing frequencies”? Several years ago, Lighthouse Trails spoke with Lance Witt, via email, and asked him if the kind of contemplative prayer he taught was a practice in which words or phrases are repeated over and over. He told us that it was indeed this type of prayer he taught. This “changing frequencies” is contemplative language and means going into an Alpha state of mind (an altered state of consciousness) in order to stop distractions. It’s like putting the mind in neutral. Contemplatives believe this is how they can hear the voice of God.
Lighthouse Trails has spoken with Lance Witt a number of years ago, via email, and asked him if the kind of contemplative prayer he taught was a practice in which words or phrases are repeated over and over. He told us that it was indeed this type of prayer he taught.
In the summer of 2008, Rick Warren (a major advocate for the contemplative/emerging movement) and Lance Witt were both speakers at the Innovate Church Conference, held at Thomas Road Baptist Church; so for many, it will seem a natural step to bring Lance Witt on board. But for Lighthouse Trails, it is seen as another step toward an organized Christian church that is heading quickly toward a time of departing and of a great mystical-based apostasy.