In an email sent out by Richard Foster’s Renovare organization this week, it was announced that Renovare is working together with HarperOne publishers on a booklet titled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Devotional Classics.
The email sent out asks readers to visit the Renovare website and fill in a form stating which 5 books they “think are foundational and all Christians should read.” (see form) The reason we bring this to the attention of Lighthouse Trails readers is twofold: first, many Christians do not see a problem with the spirituality of Richard Foster. And in fact, the majority of leading Christian figures do not see a problem with it either (e.g. Rick Warren, Focus on the Family, Bill Hybels, etc); secondly, for those who are in this camp of not seeing what is behind Foster’s spiritual formation movement, take a look on the 25 Books form page and see the list of members on the 25 Books Editorial Team. Of course, there is Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. But look at two other names: Phyllis Tickle, the emerging church’s darling “mentor” (who once said that Brian McLaren was the next Luther), and Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. For those who still have yet to be convinced that Richard Foster is indeed a New Age sympathizer, this should seal the verdict by the fact that Tickle and Rohr are included in an editorial board to decide which 25 books Christians should read.
Rohr’s spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Episcopalian panentheist Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God. For Rohr to write the forward to such a book, he would have to agree with Coutinho’s views. On Rohr’s website, he currently has an article titled “Cosmic Christ.” One need not look too far into Rohr’s teachings and website to see he is indeed promoting the same Cosmic Christ as Matthew Fox – this is the “christ” whose being they say lives in every human-this of course would nullify the need for atonement by a savior.
Ask your pastor sometime what he thinks of Richard Foster and Spiritual Formation (pioneered by Foster and Willard). You may be surprised at the answer, but it may show you how integrated Foster’s spirituality has become with the organized Christian church.
As for Phyllis Tickle, read Roger Oakland’s article “The Great Emergence: A Reformation Every 500 Years?“