In a time when the church desperately needs leaders who are willing to take a stand against New Age teachings coming into Christendom, it is with sadness to report on an upcoming AIDS conference in which Franklin Graham (president and C.E.O. of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) will join contemplative-promoting leaders John Ortberg and Rick Warren. The conference, called Race Against Time: 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church is hosted by Rick and Kay Warren and the Purpose Driven Network and will be held in November at Saddleback Church.
Both Ortberg and Rick Warren are strong proponents for contemplative spirituality, and Warren himself has stated (in his book Purpose Driven Church) that this movement is a vital and needed wake up call for the church, pointing people to Richard Foster and Dallas Willard as leaders in the contemplative movement. In Ortberg’s 2005 book, God is Closer Than You Think, Ortberg quotes favorably from contemplatives such as Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence (who danced violently like a mad man when he practiced), interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (Divine Center in all), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart as well as Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton.
We hope that Race Against Time speaker Franklin Graham will make a public statement denouncing contemplative spirituality. Participating in a Purpose Driven conference will certainly send out a different message unless something is said. In addition to Rick Warren’s promotion of contemplative and the emerging church, he is hoping to help bring in a “new reformation” in which other religions can take part.
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