Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am a former student of MBI. My wife and I graduated from the school. I recently came across a publication from MBI [Moody Bible Institute] titled “Today in the Word.” On the back page they advertise a book recently published by Moody Publishers titled “Prayers for Today – A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer.” I am saddened to see my former school go down a slippery and dangerous road. I wanted to share this with you in the event you were not aware of this. I share this not in a spirit of “…look what they are doing wrong…” rather to show how even so-called trusted places are not guarding His ways. ___________
On September 17, 2007, Moody Bible Institute wrote an article titled “Moody Responds to Lighthouse Trails.” It begins:
Moody Bible Institute recently became aware of certain assertions made about the Institution by Lighthouse Trails Research Project. In an effort to clear up any confusion, Moody has sent a response to Lighthouse Trails Research Project and is posting the following explanation of its beliefs and teachings on contemplative spirituality, spiritual formation, and the emerging/emergent church.
The article has remained posted on their website as Moody has continued to ignore the fact that it has been flirting with contemplative for at least a few years. Their article responding to our prior critique and warnings is so off-based, misleading, and seemingly unaware of the issue that we are not going to address it again, but you can read our 2007 response to that article here.
What we are going to address in this article is the new book that Moody Publishers just released in September, Prayers for Today: A yearlong journey of Contemplative Prayer. This is not going to be a full fledged book review. It doesn’t need to be to prove our point. The book is a collection of various prayers by a wide assortment of writers (e.g. the prayer of confession, the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of renewal, etc). Near the end of the book, Kurt Bjorklund, the author, has a section titled “Works Cited.” He lists “the sources for prayer utilized in this book.” There are around 70 sources. It is from these sources that the prayer collections are gathered.
At least a dozen of these are books by contemplative authors who Lighthouse Trails has written about in the past: Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Ken Boa, Leighton Ford, Max Lucado, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, and Mother Teresa, all strong advocates of contemplative prayer. In addition, there is a book by emerging hero N.T. Wright, one by atonement denier Harry Fosdick (suggests the Cross is barbarian), a book called the Catholic Prayer Book, one titled Celtic Daily Prayers, and The Book of Common Prayer.
There are some Scriptures that Bjorklund uses throughout the book, but one must decipher as he uses four different Bible versions, one of which is The Message and another the questionable ESV. Some of the authors Bjorklund uses would be in a liberal camp, not at all in the conservative camp that Moody has traditionally been known for.
Bjorklund also turns to a number of ancient and contemporary Catholic monks and priests. One such contemporary priest, the abbe Huvelin, once said, “I want all the inhabitants [of this place – his hermitage] whether Christians, Moslems, Greeks, Jews, or idolaters, to look upon me as their brother, their universal brother.”1 Such is an underlying sentiment in contemplative circles. The abbe Huvelin is a fitting choice for Bjorklund’s book. Other books in this list of 70-some sources by Bjorklund include A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God, and Harper Collins Book of Prayers (and there are others), all of which are brim full with prayers, references, and quotes by contemplative mystics.
For an organization that insists it is not going contemplative, Kurt Bjorklund’s book, Prayers for Today is enough evidence to convince us that the opposite is true. We hope you will consider contacting both Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers and beseech them to take this book off the market as soon as possible. Otherwise, Moody Publishers will have joined the ranks of so many other Christian publishers that exchanged biblical truth for the wiles of the devil.
1. Aidan Nichols, Christendom Awake, p. 210