Richard Foster’s founding contemplative organization, Renovare, has announced their upcoming (June 2018) celebration of the 40th anniversary of Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline. Kevin Palau, son of the world-wide known evangelist Luis Palau and president of the Luis Palau Association, is listed on the Renovare website as one of the speakers for the June 2018 event.
One question arises in seeing Renovare’s invitation of Palau (given the staunch stand that Renovare takes toward all things contemplative)—what is it about Palau that interests Foster and Renovare enough to include him in a big anniversary celebration of contemplative prayer? We believe it can be only one of two things: either, they want him because he resonates with them and can “enhance” their event with similar beliefs, or, they want him because including someone from a highly respected ministry will lend credibility to Renovare (after all, if people trust Luis Palau, as tens of thousands do, then they can trust his son, they reason, and therefore can trust anyone his son teams up with). And, of course, the answer to that question could be both of those elements.
Perhaps we do not know exactly why Renovare has been drawn to Kevin Palau, but we do have some facts that certainly would help explain why Kevin Palau would fit in with a Renovare conference.
For instance, in our 2016 article titled “Dress Rehearsal for a False Revival? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for ‘Together 2016’ in Washington, DC,” we pointed out that Luis Palau joined several other popular evangelical leaders at an event in Washington, DC called Together 2016 wherein Pope Francis was also one of the speakers. In 2013, in our article “Evangelical Leaders Luis Palau and Rick Warren Salute Pope Francis – What Are the Implications?,” we quoted Palau as saying, in reference to the then newly elected pope, “I think that’s the emphasis he [Pope Francis] is going to bring to the papacy: That the Gospel is primary, that we must emphasize it and especially with youth.” Such a statement makes it clear that Luis Palau does not understand what the “Catholic” gospel is about, that it is not a gospel of biblical salvation. One journalist in our article stated: “Evangelist Luis Palau, who knows and has prayed together with Pope Francis on several occasions, called the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics a friend of evangelicals who is respectful of all sides of Christianity.” A 2010 article titled “TRAVESTY at LIFEST – PARENTS: Don’t Send Your Kids – Radical-Emergent/Liberal Jim Wallis to Speak at Lifest (What is Luis Palau Doing There?),” shows yet another example of Luis Palau’s sharing platforms with unbiblical figures (see article on Jim Wallis).
Pointing out these affinities and associations of Kevin Palau’s father may not tell us where Kevin P. stands, but it does show us that his father has shown poor discernment in the past, and at the very least has passed on the habit of associating with biblically unscrupulous teachers to his son.
What can show us something of Kevin Palau’s propensities is his 2015 book Unlikely. The book is riddled with the emergent ideas of “ecumenism,” “unity” and “common ground” and a foreword written by Portland, Oregon’s emergent pastor from Imago Dei Community. Palau makes it clear in his book that his view of biblical Christianity includes the Catholic Church and that to think any other way is anti-biblical. That is, to not be ecumenical and emphasize unity and common ground is unloving and un-Christ-like.
While the evangelistic ministries of Billy Graham and Luis Palau have undoubtedly helped to lead countless people to Christ, their ecumenical view toward the Catholic Church has helped to lead to our present state where most Christians cannot even see that the Catholic view of salvation is not the biblical view of salvation, and the two cannot be reconciled (see article on the two views).
The point of this article is not to discredit any fruit Luis Palau has had in the past in bringing people to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. But rather it is to warn that an organization with a significant international platform could lead tens of thousands right into the arms of full apostasy if it is going to enjoin itself with the likes of Renovare. The contemplative prayer movement (the signature belief system of Renovare) bypasses the Cross and brings practitioners into a mystical panentheistic spirituality, and we doubt Luis Palau wants that for the legacy he leaves behind when he is gone.