Dear Editors at Lighthouse Trails:
I stumbled onto your website while looking for a video from this year’s Alliance Council featuring John Stumbo. In your writings, you largely promote the idea the C&MA is espousing the emergent church, contemplative prayer, spiritual formation blather.
I have never, ever heard this in my church. EVER. So, for you to paint the C&MA with such a wide brush is sensationalistic, to say the least. Perhaps occasionally a misled pastor will go down that road. Such a pastor needs to be brought into line, in my opinion. The colleges that “teach” these courses—are they teaching them to promote them, or are they teaching these classes in a effort to enlighten students as to the evils that can weave their way into ministry? You don’t say which in your writings which I find, again, sensationalistic.
Never once have I heard or read anything from John Stumbo promoting any of this emergent church ‘trend’.
Defend yourself. I’ll be waiting for a reply.
We wish we were being sensationalistic and exaggerating the issue. Unfortunately (and sadly), Christian and Missionary Alliance (and most other evangelical denominations) have been embracing contemplative prayer, Spiritual Formation, and the emerging “new” spirituality for quite some time, and we see no signs of this letting up. A few denominations are just dabbling in it, but most, including C&MA, are well immersed as Lighthouse Trails has been documenting for over 13 years. Does this mean that every church in each of these denominations is involved in this? No, and Lighthouse Trails has always maintained that. But in virtually every case where a denomination is moving in this direction, there is evidence that it is existent in upper leadership.A case in point is C&MA. Just visit the main C&MA website, search through their magazine archives, books they are selling, and so forth, and you will find numerous contemplative/emergent references, such as an article written by the late (d. 2011) C&MA Senior Pastor from Salem, Oregon Donald Bubna titled “The Journey” where Bubna states:
To learn from others on the spiritual journey, I have discovered and devoured the writings of Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey and Thomas Merton on the issue of full surrender to the deeper life.
Nouwen and Merton were both interspiritual Catholic mystics. Yancey is an evangelical contemplative advocate. Bubna was not an “occasional” example of a C&MA pastor who has had such persuasions. And in fact, the Salem C&MA church has been a contemplative influence for many years on Alliance members.
Another example: In a 2013 C&MA magazine article titled “The Lord’s Dream,” the author explains how a C&MA church in Philadelphia, PA is in close relationship with emergent author Shane Claiborne’s church, and on at least one occasion, Claiborne spoke at the C&MA church, filling in for the pastor one Sunday. Claiborne was mentored by and resonates with emergent leader Tony Campolo.
And a third example, Richard Bush, superintendent of the New England District of the U.S. C&MA, wrote an article titled “Transformed,” in which he favorably quotes heavy-weight contemplative leader Ruth Haley Barton. Barton was trained at the New Age sympathizing interspiritual Shalem Prayer Institute in Washington, DC, and she has an organization that teaches thousands of pastors contemplative practices and Spiritual Formation. Clearly, Bush resonates with Barton for him to use her as an example of Christians being “transformed.”
These examples are coming from C&MA leadership. With 500,000 members in 2000 churches, the C&MA is a strong force within evangelical Christianity, and if they end up in the wrong place, they’ll be taking a lot of people with them.
In reference to your comment about C&MA president John Stumbo, Lighthouse Trails has only mentioned him in one article and that was one this past summer where we stated that Stumbo will be sharing a platform with New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet at the Christian Missionary Alliance Mahaffey Family Camp. Please refer to that article for information about the beliefs of Leonard Sweet. Incidentally, John Stumbo was the senior pastor of Salem Missionary Alliance prior to becoming C&MA president. During those years, Salem C&MA was promoting contemplative spirituality (in fact, Ray Yungen talks about this church in his book A Time of Departing).
Listed below are several articles (which all have documentation) regarding Christian & Missionary Alliance that we have posted over the years. Please take the time to study this information, and in so doing, you will see that C&MA has indeed gone down the contemplative/emergent path. As for the college situation, after 13 years of tracking the evangelical colleges and seminaries, over 90% of them are now promoting this same path, and we have documented this time and again as well. As a matter of fact, we have learned that all C&MA colleges and seminaries are promoting this.
While we acknowledge that it is difficult to hear these things about one’s own denomination, for the sake of truth, we hope Christians reading Lighthouse Trails material will take it to heart, do their homework, and see if these things we say are not true.
C&MA Research Articles: