Some of our readers have asked us for an update on the Calvary Chapel articles we recently released. At this time, we do not have any updates. The information on both articles was accurately reported and documented. We ask you to pray for Calvary Chapel and its pastors. The recent (May 29th) Calvary Chapel event (Movement 2009) with featured speaker Mike Erre has left many concerned. Erre is the author of Death by Church: Saving Jesus From His Followers, a book that is riddled with emerging spirituality concepts and teachings (e.g. universalism, kingdom-now theology, panentheism, etc.). If you have not read our two articles yet, you may click here to do so: “Death by Church -Emergent New Paradigm Pastor to Speak at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa” and Calvary Chapel Termination Has Profound Implications.
Calvary Chapel is not the only Christian organization that is being influenced and changed because of contemplative/emerging spirituality. The Nazarene Church has deeply absorbed this new spirituality, as we have reported in many articles. Also, the Christian Missionary Alliance and Mennonite denominations have been hugely affected. Southern Baptist is another that has been pulled into the contemplative/emerging whirl of deception. Many Reformed/Calvinist churches have started going in this direction, as have Foursquare and Assemblies of God. It has even been reported to us that some Amish communities and Independent Baptist churches are feeling the effects. And the list could go on and on.
What this tells us, as biblical believers, is that a grand-scale spiritual deception is taking place as the Bible warns will happen in the latter days. While spiritual deception has always existed from the beginning of mankind, there has never been such a massive acceptance and embracing of mysticism as there is today. And it is not just happening outside the church–no, it is taking place within much of Christianity as well.
So while there should be legitimate concern as to the future of Calvary Chapel as a whole, there should be equal concern for many other Christian groups as well.
It should be noted that within these various groups we have mentioned, there are ministers and teachers who are staying the course and teaching and defending the Word of God. We applaud these valiant individuals.
Some of the above mentioned organizations are more inundated with the new spirituality than others, largely because of their seminaries and colleges. Once a denomination’s schools start teaching the younger generation false approaches (e.g. spiritual formation) and introducing them to mysticism, that denomination is going to rapidly change– for the worse. This is why Lighthouse Trails puts so much focus on Christian colleges and youth ministries.
To illustrate the depths of our concerns, consider these words by Ray Yungen:
Dr. Rodney R. Romney, former Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Seattle is a person frequently quoted as an example of a New Age Christian. He very candidly revealed what was conveyed to him in his contemplative prayer periods. The “source of wisdom” he was in contact with told him the following:
I want you to preach this oneness, to hold it up before the world as my call to unity and togetherness. In the end this witness to the oneness of all people will undermine any barriers that presently exist.1
Could this be a familiar spirit speaking here? Jesus Christ did not teach that all people are one. There are the saved and the unsaved. And Jesus Christ is the catalyst for this distinction. But the spirit who spoke to Dr. Romney also revealed something else of vital importance. It declared, “Silence is that place, that environment where I work.”2
Please pay attention to this! God does not work in the silence–but familiar spirits do! Moreover, what makes it so dangerous is that they are very clever. One well-known New Ager revealed what his guiding (familiar) spirit candidly disclosed:
We work with all who are vibrationally sympathetic; simple and sincere people who feel our spirit moving, but for the most part, only within the context of their current belief system. 3
The term “vibrationally sympathetic” here means those who suspend thought through word repetition or breath focus–inward mental silence. That is what attracts them. That is their opening. That is why Tilden Edwards called this the “bridge to far Eastern spirituality,” and this is what is being injected into the evangelical church!
We cannot emphasize it enough; simply put, this emerging mystical approach is absolutely a polar opposite to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel says that man is sinful and is in need of a Savior, whereas the mystical approach ultimately reaches the conclusion that man is God.
Today, we received a letter from a man who happens to be very involved with the Calvary Chapel movement. In order to protect his identity, we will call him Michael. Michael is very concerned about the spiritual deception that has worked its way into the church through contemplative spirituality and the emerging church, and he works diligently to warn others. Here is his letter to us:
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
Greetings in the name of our Lord!
Thank you for the complimentary copy of Castles in the Sand. I pray that through the genre of this novel that those who enjoy fiction may come to know the truth of the dangers of contemplative spirituality.
Of course the note on the back cover of the book is appropriate–“…fiction with a message.” And through this genre, truth can be taught. It’s interesting in light of the protestation by [William] Paul Young that The Shack is entirely a fictional work and that it does not teach doctrine. Then why do Gayle Erwin and others claim that they have never understood God the way they do prior to reading The Shack? Yes, works of fiction can (and do) teach doctrine. I would suggest that those who haven’t understood God the way they do prior to reading The Shack is because they have never encountered the Jesus of The Shack within the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit. Could it be that the God they better understand is actually not the eternal God, the Creator of the universe, but another Jesus (II Corinthians 11:4)?
Thank you once again for all you do to alert people about the subtle dangers of contemplative spirituality and the emerging church. Do not lose heart even though the dissenters cry out loudly in protest and criticism. Is it more loving to warn of the potential danger than to know of it and either ignore it or dismiss it with an attitude of “eat the meat, spit out the bones” mindset? I wonder where Sue Monk Kidd might be today if someone had warned her about the dangerous rise within Thomas Merton’s writings.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).
The “God” that is encountered through the experiences that Rodney Romney, Sue Monk Kidd, and the “God” portrayed in The Shack is a “God” who believes that divinity is in all things, including in all of creation and mankind. It is this same “God” that is being portrayed, wittingly or unwittingly, in Mike Erre’s book, Death by Church. But this is not the God of the Bible.
Lighthouse Trails stands with and supports believers in Jesus Christ who are defending the Gospel. It is this Gospel that saves through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
When Sue Monk Kidd was handed a book by Thomas Merton, there was no one there to warn her, as Michael points out. And now she carries Merton’s panentheistic, universalistic message to countless people through her writings. And for this reason, dear believers, we must continue warning and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world and remember we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. II Corinthians 2:11
Finally, it is wrong that Christian churches, denominations, leaders, and colleges are promoting any form of a spirituality that is earthly, carnal, and sensual as is contemplative and emerging. And it is also wrong for pastors, teachers, and leaders who understand this type of deception to say or do nothing. This silence and lack of standing for truth by those who see but say nothing is a slap in the face to the martyrs who have gone before us. 21st century Christian leaders should feel ashamed and saddened for having a lack of courage in light of those past saintsâ€™ great courage. And these are the depths of our concerns.
1. Rodney R. Romney, Journey to Inner Space (New York, NY: Riverview Press., 1986), p. 132.
2. Ibid., p. 138.
3. Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions (A Uni-Sun Book, 1985 4th printing), p. 33.
Research Articles on The Shack, click here.