This week, in Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox newsletter, he is recommending the National Pastors Convention 2007. The convention is put on by Zondervan publishing and sponsored by InterVarsity Press and Leadership Journal (Christianity Today). The pastors convention has consistently been a conduit for contemplative and emergent spiritualities. In the past, Yoga workshops and labyrinths, as well as contemplative sessions, have been part of the event. This year, along with many workshops on the silence (i.e., contemplative), there will also be an an enneagram, which is a “system of spiritual psychology based on an ancient Sufi typology of nine personality types or primary roles with the recognition of one’s type tantamount to a spiritual awakening” (from Alternative Health Dictionary). In the following video clip, Catholic priest William Menninger explains how an enneagram is a universal tool that can be used by anyone in any religion to have a spiritual experience.
Speakers for this year’s event include some of the strongest promoters of Eastern mysticism (i.e., contemplative) and the panentheistic emerging church belief system. The list of speakers is long, and you will no doubt recognize many names: Brian McLaren, Ruth Haley Barton, Doug Pagitt, Phyllis Tickle, Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll and Eugene Peterson. Gary Thomas will be teaching a workshop called “Sacred Pathways,” named for his book in which he tells readers to repeat a word over and over for 20 minutes. Labyrinth and lectio divina proponent Dan Kimball will be doing a workshop titled “They Like Jesus, But Not the Church” (from his new book – see our article Christian or Christ Follower).
Rick Warren has been promoting contemplative spirituality at least as far back as his first book, Purpose Driven Church, when he said that Richard Foster’s Spiritual Formation movement was vital and needed for the body of Christ.1 Since then he has consistently endorsed, promoted and encouraged contemplative as well as the spirituality and leaders of the emerging church movement. While some may feel this is not all that significant, we believe it is crucial. 400,000 churches have participated in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven program. Countless pastors and church leaders around the world receive his newsletter each week. Week after week, month after month, they are being introduced to a dangerous belief system by someone they trust who is encouraging them to follow a new kind of Christianity (Warren calls it a new reformation). Unfortunately, it is a kind that will ultimately negate the Cross and lead followers after seducing spirits.
When the Orange County Register just finished a 20 week series on America’s Pastor, they ended the series with the title: “Can Warren change the world?” We at Lighthouse Trails have a different question: “Will Rick Warren help bring the world into mystical, interspiritual unity through contemplative spirituality?”