Coming From the Lighthouse
This issue of Coming from the Lighthouse is a bit
longer than usual. This is partly because we did not
issue a newsletter last week due to the release of Faith
Undone. The other reason is that contemplative
(i.e., mystical) spirituality is pervading the church
at an accelerated pace, and there are several important
items to report on. With once-trustworthy ministries
and leaders now embracing spiritual formation and
what is referred to as the spiritual disciplines (terms
to mean contemplative or mystical), children, teens,
and adults all are put in harm's way. From Purpose
Driven to Focus on the Family to MOPs, it appears
that even the most conservative mainstream Christian
groups are open to and frequently embracing the
contemplative. Thus, this issue carries many articles
that reflect this, with the hope some might be warned
and with the documentation be able to keep their families
from heading in this dangerous direction.
Energy (Serpent Power) Same as Contemplative Prayer
... Says Thomas Keating
According to Thomas Keating, the father of the modern day centering
(contemplative) prayer movement that is sweeping widely
within evangelical circles, the silence or sacred
space that is reached during contemplative prayer/centering
prayer is the same state that is reached during what
is called kundalini.
Catholic priest Philip St. Romain wrote a book called Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality. Kundalini
is based on the occultic chakra system where a supposed
universal energy flows through a human being and through
all of creation, uniting all and acknowledging divinity
in all things and all people. Ray Yungen says kundalini
is a "Hindu term for the mystical power or force
that underlies Hindu spirituality" (ATOD, 2nd
ed., p.46). In Hinduism, kundalini is called serpent
power. Some of the symptoms include:
* Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine.
* Pains in varying locations throughout the body.
* Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other
parts of body.
* Fast pulse and increased metabolism.
* Disturbance in the breathing--and/or heart function.
* Sensitivity to sound, light, smell, and proximity
of other people.
* Mystical/religious experiences.
* Parapsychological abilities.
* Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, confusion
* Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression.
* Impaired concentration and memory.
* Total isolation due to inability to communicate
inner experiences out.
* Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena.
Through practicing meditation, Romain came to depend
on what he calls an "inner adviser" (spirit
guide). Symptoms during his deep meditative experience
included "prickly sensations on the top of his
head" that would "fizzle with energy"
(ATOD, p. 47).
Thomas Keating, who has inspired many evangelical
contemplatives like Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster1, and Brennan Manning, 2 wrote the foreword to Philip St. Romain's book, and
in it, Keating acknowledges that kundalini is the
same as Christian contemplation. He states:
Since this energy [kundalini]
is also at work today in numerous persons who are
devoting themselves to contemplative prayer, this
book is an important contribution to the renewal
of the Christian contemplative tradition. It will
be a great consolation to those who have experienced
physical symptoms arising from the awakening of
kundalini in the course of their spiritual journey
... Most spiritual disciplines world-wide insist
on some kind of serious discipline before techniques
of awakening kundalini are communicated. In Christian
tradition ... the regular practice of the stages
of Christian prayer ... contemplation are the essential
Keating explains that the
reason spiritual directors are needed is to help guide the Christian
contemplative because of the powerful and dangerous
nature of kundalini. He says that these "spiritual
directors" may need to consult with "Eastern
teachers in order to get a fuller understanding."
Keating ends his foreword with:
This book will initiate Christians
on the spiritual journey into this important but long
neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.
It is disturbing to
know that evangelical leaders, like Beth Moore, are
touting Brennan Manning 3 whose spirituality is so influenced by mystics like
Thomas Keating. Southern Baptist LifeWay Store Jim
Shull said this of Keating when defending their promoting
of him in their stores: "He has written books
on contemplative prayer, but this does not make him
a New Age sympathizer."4 When we realize that New Age and kundalini have the
same premise (God in all, and God is all), then we
can see how troublesome LifeWay's comments are. (Lifeway
has since discontinued carrying Keating's book but
to our knowledge has not retracted its statement about
him. In addition, they remain in partnership with
Leadership Network, which promotes both the contemplative
and emerging church movements,5 and they continue offering mystical promoting books
like Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson.6
Surely Thomas Keating's recognition that contemplative
and kundalini are one in the same will convince even
the most skeptical Christian.
Book Alert: Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson
In a Christianity Today article titled, "Shape-Shifting
Leadership," featuring Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll,
and Leith Anderson, Kimball states:
I've read Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on
Christian Leadership a dozen times. It convicts
me to the core about motives and the heart of leadership.
But Henri was shepherding and loving a relatively
few people. Leading a church that is growing, launching
new ministries, and building multi-level leadership
teams needs Nouwen, but also [John] Maxwell.1(see also Maxwell/Blanchard book)
Kimball is proposing that
in order to be a successful, effective leader in today's
church, we must combine the "heart" of Henri
Nouwen with the leadership skills of John Maxwell.
What is wrong with that?
We must first understand that Nouwen's "heart
of leadership" is mystical. He says so himself
right in the book that Kimball recognizes. In In
the Name of Jesus, Nouwen states:
Through the discipline of
contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to
learn to listen to the voice of love ... For Christian
leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a
movement from the moral to the mystical is required.
Moving "from the moral
to mystical" is another way of saying that mystical
experience is more important in leadership than doctrine
or theology. Interestingly, Leith Anderson who contributed
to the Christianity Today article with Kimball
and Driscoll has stated virtually the same thing.
Roger Oakland explains:
In 1992, Leith Anderson (Doug
Pagitt's former pastor), currently the president
of the National Association of Evangelicals, spoke
of this new emerging 21st century church. His views
became set in stone as the emerging church has chosen
experience over doctrine. Anderson reveals:
The old paradigm taught that
if you had the right teaching, you will experience
God. The new paradigm says that if you experience
God, you will have the right teaching. This may
be disturbing for many who assume propositional
truth must always precede and dictate religious
experience. That mindset is the product of systematic
theology and has much to contribute ... However,
biblical theology looks to the Bible for a pattern
of experience followed by proposition. The experience
of the Exodus from Egypt preceded the recording
of Exodus in the Bible. The experience of the
crucifixion, the resurrection and Pentecost all
predate the propositional declaration of those
events in the New Testament. It is not so much
that one is right and the other is wrong: it is
more of a matter of the perspective one takes
on God's touch and God's truth.
Anderson is saying that the
Word of God is still being written, and today's
experiences can dictate what that Word is. (Faith
Undone, p. 55,56)
Nouwen reveals what he means
by "mystical" when he states: "The
quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend
with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple
prayer ... opens us to God is active presence"
(The Way of the Heart,
Dan Kimball proposes that leadership must combine
Nouwen's spirituality with John Maxwell's leadership
skills. Someone who emulates such a combination is
business guru and meditation promoter, Ken Blanchard.
Blanchard sees great value in meditation and has endorsed
and promoted avid meditators for over two decades.
His current participation in the Hoffman Institute
shows that he is still in support of such a philosophy.
This may come as a surprise to some, but Rick Warren
(who has won the trust of hundreds of thousands of
pastors and church goers around the world) shares
Kimball's views. On his pastors.com website, Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus is a recommended book.
(Nouwen devotes an entire chapter of that book to
contemplative prayer.) And in a Saddleback training
book, Soul Construction: Solitude Tool (p.
12), Nouwen is quoted as saying we need to set aside
a "time and space to give God our undivided attention."
Ray Yungen explains Nouwen's "space":
When we understand what Nouwen
really means by "time and space" given
to God we can also see the emptiness and deception
of his spirituality. In his recent biography of
Nouwen, God's Beloved, Michael O' Laughlin
Some new elements began to
emerge in Nouwen's thinking when he discovered
Thomas Merton. Merton opened up for Henri an enticing
vista of the world of contemplation and a way
of seeing not only God but also the world through
new eyes. If ever there was a time when Henri
Nouwen wished to enter the realm of the spiritual
masters or dedicate himself to a higher spiritual
path, it was when he fell under the spell of Cistercian
monasticism and the writings of Thomas Merton.
In his book, Thomas Merton:
Contemplative Critic, Nouwen talks about these
"new eyes" that Merton helped to formulate;
he praises Merton who "had such an impact"
on his life, being the man who "inspired"
him greatly. But when we read Nouwen's very revealing
account, something disturbing is unveiled. Nouwen
lays out the path of Merton's spiritual pilgrimage
into contemplative spirituality. Those who have
studied Merton from a critical point of view, such
as myself, have tried to understand what are the
roots behind Merton's spiritual affinities. Nouwen
explains that Merton was influenced by LSD mystic
Aldous Huxley who "brought him to a deeper
level of knowledge" and "was one of Merton's
favorite novelists." It was Huxley's book, Ends and Means, that first brought Merton
"into contact with mysticism." ... This
is why, as Nouwen revealed, Merton's mystical journey
took him right into the arms of Buddhism. (ATOD, 2nd ed., pp. 197)
If Dan Kimball's hope for
the future of Christianity is realized, it will resemble
the spirituality of Ken Blanchard (Nouwen's mysticism
and Maxwell's leadership skills) who said that the
Hoffman Quadrinity Process made his "spirituality
come alive" (ATOD, p. 165). The Hoffman Institute
"... an organization
that was founded by a psychic and is based on panentheism
(i.e., God is in all) and meditation! In the book, The Hoffman Process, the institute's mystical
perspective is laid out clearly:
I am you and you are me. We
are all parts of the whole.... You can use a short
meditation to remind yourself of this connection
to all others in this world of ours.... As you
breathe, feel that breath coming from your core
essence ... When you are open to life, you start
noticing the divine in everything. (ATOD, p. 165)
For more information:
They Like Jesus but Not the Church - A Closer Look at Dan
Ken Blanchard: Promoting Buddhism and the New Age
What Did Henri Nouwen Really Believe?
Catholic Evangelization and the Emerging Church
by Roger Oakland
Understand the Times
From Faith Undone:
For those who are not aware of the Catholic Church's
New Evangelization program, let me provide a brief
overview. The Catholic Church plans to establish the
kingdom of God on earth and win the world to the Catholic
Jesus (i.e., the Eucharistic Christ). This will be
accomplished when the world (including the separated
brethren) comes under the rule and reign of Rome and
this Eucharistic Jesus.
The Eucharistic Jesus is supposedly Christ's presence
that a Catholic priest summons through the power of
transubstantiation, the focal point of the Mass. Many
Christians believe the Christian tradition of communion
is the same as the Catholic tradition of the Eucharist.
But this is not so. The Eucharist (i.e., transubstantiation)
is a Catholic term for communion when the bread and
the wine are said to be transformed into the very
body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Catechism
In the most blessed sacrament
of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together
with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ
and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really,
and substantially contained."1
The host is then placed in
what is called a monstrance and can then be worshiped
as if worshiping Jesus Himself. The implications are
tied directly to salvation itself. With the Eucharist,
salvation becomes sacramental (participation in a
ritual) as opposed to justification by faith in Christ
alone, described in Galatians 2:16. While this mystical
experience is a form of idolatry (as well as the very
heart of Catholicism), there is a growing interest
by evangelical Christians in this practice, particularly
by the emerging church.
The Catholic Church leadership, concerned with apathy
for the Eucharist within the Catholic ranks, is hoping
to "rekindle the amazement"2 of the Eucharist
through what is called their "New Evangelization
program."3 With a two-fold purpose--to keep present
Catholics and to bring evangelicals into the Catholic
Church--church leadership has a plan to re-emphasize
the Eucharist as the focus of the Catholic faith.
By saying "rekindle the amazement," they
mean bring out the mystical, supernatural element
of the Eucharist.
All Catholics are expected to worship the host (Eucharistic
Adoration of the transformed wafer), and church leadership
says it is anathema (to be accursed) to reject this
While it is true that during the Reformation and Counter
Reformation, many who refused to believe in transubstantiation
were tortured and executed for their faith in the
Gospel, time has a way of forgetting the facts of
In April of 2003, the pope wrote an encyclical promoting
the "New Evangelization" program for the
purpose of "rekindling amazement" for the
Eucharist.4 Then in October of 2004, John Paul II
initiated "The Year of the Eucharist" as
part of his evangelistic plan to bring the world to
the Eucharistic Christ. Following his death in April
of 2005, Pope Benedict XVI picked up Pope John Paul's
mission immediately. He called the "faithful
to intensify" devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus,
and said the Eucharist is the "heart of Christian
The New Evangelization program plans to revitalize
the Catholic faith by reigniting strong interest in
the Eucharistic Jesus. It is not just the pope who
is enthusiastic about this--cardinals, bishops, and
priests all over the world are joining in to help
with the mission. Something very significant is happening.
Eucharistic adoration is becoming the foundation for
the new evangelization of the Catholic Church....
In speaking of the pope's view on the Eucharist, Protestant-turned
Catholic Scott Hahn states:
The coming of Jesus Christ
- what the Greek New Testament calls his "parousia"--is
not simply some far-off event. It is his presence
in the Eucharist. Fundamentalists reduce the meaning
of "parousia" to Christ's coming at the
end of time; but for the first century Greek speakers
the word meant "presence." Catholic theology
holds on to that original meaning.6
The presence of Christ in
the Eucharist is the Second Coming Catholic style.
Unfortunately, many evangelical Protestants are not
even aware of this....
While Eucharistic adoration contradicts biblical Christianity,
a growing number of popular evangelicals (especially
those leaning toward emerging spiritualities) seem
to find no offense in such a doctrine. And with the
increased acceptance of mysticism and an attraction
to imagery within evangelical circles, it only makes
sense that many evangelical Christians find nothing
wrong with the Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration.
Such acceptance, however, is neutralizing former evangelical
resistance to all things Catholic....
In Doug Pagitt's 2003 book Church Re-imagined,
he describes his initial attraction to rituals associated
with the Eucharist:
The first day of Lent this
year brought the first Ash Wednesday gathering in
our church's history and in mine.... Until this
point, Ash Wednesday had not been part of my Christian
faith experience. Not only had I never applied ashes
to anyone's forehead, but I had also never had them
applied to mine. After this experience I wondered
how I could have celebrated 19 Easters as a Christian
without this tremendous experience.7
Scot McKnight, another emerging
church influencer, is professor of religious studies
at North Park University and on the Coordinating Group
for Emergent Village.... McKnight is the author of The Real Mary and The Jesus Creed. In
referring to an Anglican service, McKnight speaks
of the Eucharistic focus. He states:
[T]he point of an Anglican
gathering on a Sunday morning is not to hear a sermon
but to worship the Lord through the celebration
of the Eucharist... First some scripture readings
and then the sermon and then some announcements
and then the Eucharist liturgy--with everyone coming
forward to kneel and participate - publicly--in
the body and blood.8
McKnight says that "the
Eucharist profoundly enables the grace of God to be
received with all its glories and blessings."9
No doubt, McKnight will have an impact on those in
the emerging church movement, and his views on the
Eucharist will rub off. He is a popular speaker at
many events including Willow Creek's Small Group Conference
and the National Pastors Convention. Both of these
events reach the postmodern generation. (See Faith
Undone for other examples of evangelical leaders
showing tolerance toward the Catholic Eucharist, one
of which is Rick Warren.)
The late Robert Webber was very influential in closing
the gap between Eucharistic adoration and the evangelical
church. A document he authored called "A Call
to an Ancient Evangelical Future" states: "We
call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers
to us in ... Eucharist."10 Two well-known evangelical
publishers, Baker Books and InterVarsity Press (both
of which now publish emerging church authors) sponsored
the document as did Christianity Today. The
AEF, which the document is called, is endorsed by
various emerging church leaders such as Brian McLaren
who calls it "a preaching resource" that
"emphasize[s] the importance ... of Advent or
Participants of the AEF include numerous Christian
seminaries like Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, Dallas
Theological Seminary, and pastors from many different
denominations including Nazarene, Wesleyan, Mennonite,
Reformed, and Baptist. ...
To those who traditionally haven't had much ritual
in their lives (i.e., Protestants), the ambience of
the Mass would have great appeal because of its religious
novelty--thus the interest in the Eucharist by those
who promote contemplative spirituality. And for many
Catholics, the Mass (where the Eucharist is presented),
in, and of itself, is not a mystical experience. However
if the contemplative dimension is added, one actually
can enter the mystical realm. On the surface, this
phenomenon seems complex, but once we begin to understand
mysticism, it all makes sense. Within the contemplative
prayer realm, the meditator is actually getting in
touch with a spiritual power or force. Combining the
tradition of the Eucharist, which appeals to many
raised in the Catholic Church, with the relatively
recent explosion of contemplative practice, the Catholic
Church sees this as a way to recover its robust state
of previous decades....
Right now, some may be asking, is the physical presence
of Jesus held inside the elements of the Eucharist?
Or as some evangelicals and emergents have suggested,
is there a special presence and power in the Eucharist?
The answer to both is a resounding no! Jesus Christ
indwells the heart of every person who is born again
and who belongs to Him by faith through grace. He
promises never to leave or forsake us, meaning that
His presence is in our lives at all times. We are
not required to partake in a ritual to experience
His presence, nor is He confined in benign, lifeless
wafers and wine (or juice). As Jesus said:
It is the spirit that quickeneth;
the flesh profits nothing; the words that I speak
unto you, they are spirit [spiritual as opposed
to physical], and they are life. (John 6:63, emphasis
Jesus said this in response
to his disciples' confusion over His statement "my
flesh is meat indeed" (vs. 55). Paul adds further
clarity in writing to the Romans that all we need
to do is call upon the true Jesus, and He is there:
But what saith it? The word
is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:
that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That
if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised
him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with
the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and
with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on
him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference
between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord
over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall
be saved. (Romans 10:8-13)
At this point, we see the
great chasm that separates Catholicism from the light
of the Gospel--a light the reformers saw, for which
many of them gave their lives. They recognized that
participation in the sacraments is not what saves
[T]he Catholic's New Evangelization is no small issue.
Darkness has crept over the Christian church the same
way an avalanche sweeps down a mountain. Every day
new unsuspecting victims are being swept away and
buried. And the role the emerging church plays in
bringing this about is something that should alarm
every discerning Christian. (From Faith Undone,
excerpts from chapter 8)
To read more about the emerging church, read Faith Undone - to be released August 1st, 2007.
1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para.
1374, page 383.6
2. H. J. Schroeder, The Canons and Decrees of The
Council of Trent (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and
Publishers, 1978), page 79, Canon 1.
3. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, "The New Evangelization"
4. Zenit: The World Seen From Rome, "Why the
Pope Would Write an Encyclical on the Eucharist: To
Rekindle Amazement," cited April 17, 2003, http://www.zenit.org.
5. "Pope Benedict calls on faithful to intensify
devotion to Eucharistic Jesus," http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=3686.
6. Interview with Scott Hahn, "Eucharist in the
Pontificate of Benedict XVI" (Pontifications,
June 12, 2005, http:// catholica.pontifications.net/?p=940).
7. Doug Pagitt, Church Re-Imagined, op. cit.,
8. Scot McKnight, "An Anglican Service"
(Jesus Creed blog, http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2258).
9. Scot McKnight, Turning to Jesus, (Louisville,
KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2002 edition), p.
10. Robert Webber, "A Call to an Ancient Evangelical
Future" (Online at: http://www.aefcall.org/read.html.
11. Brian McLaren, "The AEF Document as a Preaching
Resource" (From the AEF Call website: http://www.aefcall.org/documents/TheAEFDocumentasaPreachingResource_000.doc).
For more information on the "New Evangelization"
program of the Catholic church and the move toward
"Catholic, other religious leaders, laity try silence
when peace talks fail"
from Understand the Times (July 23rd, 2007).
Pope's message for World Youth Day 2008: Seeking a new "Pentecost"
Harry's Last Battle and Rowling's Beliefs
by Berit Kjos
In spite of this unbridgeable chasm between occultism and Christianity,
Joanne Rowling insists that she is a believer. She
has kept the details of her faith a secret, explaining
that such information would disclose the mysterious
ending of her popular story. So when asked if she
was a Christian, she gave this answer:
"Yes, I am, which seems to offend the religious
right far worse than if I said I thought there was
no God. Every time I've been asked if I believe
in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one
ever really has gone any more deeply into it than
that, and I have to say that does suit me, because
if I talk too freely about that, I think the intelligent
reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess
what's coming in the books."
Now that the final book is out, there's no need
to guess. We know the end of the story --one that
apparently corresponds to the author's beliefs.
So what does it tell us?
Harry willingly gives his life. Responding to a
message he magically received from Hogwarts' former
Headmaster Dumbledore through Professor Snape's
memories, the young wizard walks unarmed up to the
evil wizard Voldemort, who points his wand at him
and projects a killing curse. Harry falls down,
He awakens in a large, ornate room. Noticing his
own nakedness, he wishes to be clothed -- and some
fitting clothes magically appear. Then Dumbledore
(who died in the previous book) arrives and praises
Harry for his courageous sacrifice. Click here to read more.
Also see our database of articles on Harry Potter.
Alpha Course Leader Gives Thumbs Up to Emergent/Interspiritual
On August 3rd, Todd Hunter, the USA Alpha Course president,
issued an email promoting the October Soularize event
in the Bahamas (see email). The Soularize conference is featuring several
emerging church speakers as well as contemplative/eastern-style
mysticism proponents Brennan Manning and Richard Rohr. Rohr's spirituality
would be in the same camp as someone like Matthew
Fox who believes in pantheism and panentheism.
Hunter, who was formerly the national director of Vineyard
movement USA, is no stranger to contemplative spirituality
or the emerging church, but most Alpha participants
are probably unaware of this. He has worked with Richard
Foster's Renovare in various settings,1 and his own blog backs up his sympathies toward spiritual
formation2. In an interview titled "Alpha and the Emerging Church - Oil and Water?",
Hunter explains that the Alpha Course could be very
appealing to the emerging church. In a 2006 Christianity
Today Q & A, Hunter tries to show Alpha's
relevancy to the post-modern world and the emerging
What many people may not realize is that the speaker
line up at Soularize 2007 represents the type of spirituality that
runs contrary to what the gospel of Jesus Christ is
all about. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan monk and Catholic
priest, is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. In January 2008,
he is presenting the Jesus and Buddha Awakening Seminar.
In addition, Rohr is a major advocate for interspirituality
through mantra meditation.
Other speakers at Soularize include several emergent
leaders, two of which are Karen Ward and Mark Scandrette. Faith Undone discusses both of these emergents:
Karen Ward, a minister in Washington, rejects the
biblical view of the atonement and refers to it as at-one-ment, meaning all is one and unified
together as she describes. Occulist Alice Bailey referenced
at-one-ment when she said all humanity is equal with
God (Faith Undone, p. 216).
Mark Scandrette, a contributing author of the new
book by Baker/Emergent An Emergent Manifesto of
Hope, believes that all things are interconnected
- his writing emulates Leonard Sweet's Theory of Everything,
in which a new kingdom is arising, one that will bring
all humanity and all creation into unity with God.
Scandrette refers to this as "integrative theology"
(p. 27 of the Manifesto). For more information on
integrative or integral theology, see the work
of Buddhist proponent Ken Wilber (but please view this site with caution and discernment).
In view of the fact that so many in mainstream Christianity
use the Alpha Course and see it as a trustworthy program
for spirituality, the implications of Todd Hunter's
endorsement and promotion of Soularize are staggering.
If the spirituality represented at Soularize could
be indicative of the future of Alpha, this could potentially
mean that millions of people could be introduced to
these dangerous forms of spiritual practice.
More Evidence: Rick Warren Promoting Contemplative Spirituality
Issue 321 of Rick Warren's weekly e-newsletter to
over 400,000 church leaders shows further indication
that the Purpose Driven movement promotes and stands
by the emerging/contemplative church. As has been
reported and documented many times in the past, Rick
Warren is one of the major catalysts of the emerging
church movement as well as the contemplative prayer
movement. Some of this documentation includes his
2003 endorsement and participation in Dan Kimball's
book, The Emerging Church and his 1995 participation
with New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet in an audio
series called Tides of Change as well as Warren's
1999 endorsement of Sweet's emerging book, Soul
Tsunami, just to name a few.
This week's newsletter has an article titled "Surviving
Life as a Pastor's Spouse" by Pete Scazzero's
wife, Geri. While the article is benign, Warren's
reference to Pete Scazzero's book at the end of the
article is not. The newsletter states:
Geri Scazzero directs large group events and the marriage ministry
at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, N.Y. She
is a certified Pairs trainer and speaks, along with
her husband Pete, to pastors, leaders and their
spouses across North America on integrating the
groundbreaking principles found in Emotionally Healthy
Spirituality (Nelson, 2006).
The concern is that the "groundbreaking principles found
in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" are contemplative
principles as we reported in November 2006. Scazzero's book favorably
quotes and/or references some of the most blatant
mysticism proponents such as Meister Eckhart, Daniel
Goleman(scientist who studies and promotes Buddhist
meditation), Thomas Merton, Tilden Edwards, and several
others. The book also promotes contemplative practices
such as centering, lectio, and going into the silence.
While Warren promotes Pete Scazzero's book in a round
about way (through Scazzero's wife's article), he
nevertheless does promote the book and points people
to it as "groundbreaking." Warren calls
it groundbreaking because he knows that contemplative
is a "hot topic," which he told Lighthouse
Trails in 2003 (see p. 143 ATOD, 2nd ed.).
In this week's e-newsletter, Warren makes other references
to show his support for contemplative/emerging spirituality.
A reference to Focus on the Family's contemplative
proponent H.B. London is one, and a write up about
the upcoming Catalyst Conference, which will feature
emerging/contemplative speakers, is another.
Harry, Yoda, and Yoga
by Marsha West
than you can say "Quiddich" a wizard's broomstick
rocketed to the sky and inscribed a smoke trail message
for all the world to see... Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows ... has arrived! The long-awaited
book was released at the stroke of midnight on July
21, putting an end to the suspense. The Potterites,
under Harry's spell for 10 years, now know his fate.
Parents waited in long lines with their youngsters
for hours on end so that little Danielle would have
first crack at reading the seventh and final book
in J. K. Rowling's phenomenally successful Harry Potter
Not surprisingly, Deathly Hallows broke sales
records becoming the fastest selling book ever, selling
more than eleven million copies in the first twenty-four
hours following its release. Bookstores offered HP
parties to promote the book. Some provided magicians
and face painting and handed out goodie bags to their
customers. Barnes & Noble in Augusta, Maine held
a "Midnight Magic Costume Party" to introduce
youngsters to the occult. According to Mike Hein of
the Christian Civic League of Maine, "the store
held fortune telling readings in its 'Children's Department,'
surrounded by children's books and literature. The
store employee who read the childrens' fortunes used
'Gypsy Witch' tarot cards which were created by noted
French mystic Madame Lenormand in 19th century Europe."
Nothing like learning about the tools of the occult
before you're even old enough to attend "Hogwarts
School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
No question some parents are OK with exposing their
adolescents to occult indoctrination. Perhaps they
rationalize that children need to be exposed to new
and diverse things. Moms and dads in Augusta, Maine
must of thought Madam Marmalade's tarot card reading
would be a "good experience." Visiting a
fortuneteller makes one more "well rounded." Click here to read the rest.
For more on Harry Potter and the occult, click here.
John Armstrong "Enjoys" Emergent Village Experience
Recently, Emergent Village held the Midwest Emergent Gathering. Speakers included the typical
emerging church comrades: Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and an array of other emergents. One speaker
though would not be considered a typical one - John
Armstrong, a professor at Wheaton College and Christian author.
For people who are familiar with Armstrong, hearing
him talk so favorably about the recent Midwest Emergent
Gathering, will be disquieting to say the least. It
certainly has been a surprise to us at Lighthouse
Trails. And here is why: Emergent Village (the emerging
church web presence) is immersed in mystical spirituality
and the New Age (ancient wisdom). This is a fact that
we have documented many times. Some may suggest that
Armstrong is not aware of the dangers of mysticism
(i.e., contemplative) or of New Age spirituality.
But nearly seven years ago, before Lighthouse Trails
existed, we had met Ray Yungen, author of A Time
of Departing. At that time, he was carrying around
an unpublished manuscript of his book. By happenstance,
Armstrong was in Ray's hometown (Salem, Oregon) and
met one of the editors of the manuscript who handed
Armstrong a copy of it. He promised to read it. A
few weeks later, I received an email from Armstrong
saying that if Ray would remove chapter 6 of the book
(titled "The End of the Age"), he would
ask Harvest House publishers to publish it. After
prayerful consideration, Ray decided that chapter
6 must remain. But even though Armstrong was not going
to help with the book at this point, he said that
Yungen was right-on in his deductions of contemplative
prayer, and he found the book to be exceptional. Shortly
thereafter Lighthouse Trails was birthed and A
Time of Departing was published. Click here to read this entire article.
Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation
This past spring NavPress released My First Message by Eugene Peterson. The book is meant to be a child's
first Bible. A product description of the book suggests
that the contemplative practice called lectio divina
is being utilize. It states:
My First Message: A Devotional Bible for Kids uses the time-tested practice
of lectio divina (or "spiritual reading"),
a simple but powerful practice used by Christians
for centuries to deepen their devotional lives. It
is based on four key elements: reading the Bible,
thinking about what it means, praying in response
to what it says, and living out the truth.1 (This section is taken from the book - p. 5.)
Lectio divina is indeed powerful,
as are other contemplative practices, but it will
not "deepen" the devotional lives of children.
On the contrary, it will introduce kids to a spirituality
that could produce detrimental results on practitioners. Friar Luke Dysinger, a present-day monk
at Saint Andrews Abbey, describes lectio divina
Choose a text of the Scriptures
... Place yourself in a comfortable position and
allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians
focus for a few moments on their breathing; others
have a beloved 'prayer word' or 'prayer phrase'
they gently recite in order to become interiorly
silent. For some the practice known as 'centering
prayer' makes a good, brief introduction to lectio
Then turn to the text and read it slowly, gently.
Savor each portion of the reading, constantly
listening for the 'still, small voice' of a word
or phrase that somehow says, 'I am for you today
...Next take the word or phrase into yourself.
Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself,
allowing it to interact with your inner world
of concerns, memories and ideas.
Learn to use words when words are helpful, and
to let go of words when they no longer are necessary.
Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you
in both words and silence, in spiritual activity
and inner receptivity.
This practice has become extremely
popular in today's Christian youth organizations
and programs. Youth Specialties, a world renowned
Christian organization, instructs young people and
youth workers to incorporate lectio divina into
their prayer lives. In their magazine, Youth
Worker Journal, they describe lectio divina
This is a fancy Latin term
for 'sacred reading' and has also been called
'meditation on the Word.' Sacred reading is the
practice of reading scripture slowly in a spirit
of contemplation. The goal isn't exegesis or analysis,
but allowing God to speak to us through the word.
Christians often refer to the Bible as God's love
letter to mankind, and when we take the time to
read it as such, we are practicing sacred reading."
The article then exhorts readers
Take a short passage and repeat
it over and over again aloud. With each repetition,
remove extraneous words until you've broken the
passage down to one thought. An obvious example
is John 14:27, which could easily be broken down
to the word 'peace.'
In light of NavPress' PrayKids magazine where contemplative prayer is encouraged,
it makes sense that they would publish Peterson's
contemplative promoting Bible for kids, but
it is tragic to think of how many children could
be drawn into a spiritual camp that ultimately negates
the gospel and takes practitioners into what contemplative
father Thomas Keating calls kundalini (serpent power),3 a Hindu term for the deep trance state that meditators
experience. While Richard Foster himself admits
that this type of prayer can be very dangerous,
(see RAW, p. 144, citing Foster's Prayer: Finding the Heart's True
Home) it is a mystery then why contemplatives
would want to teach this to children.
In the PrayKids magazine, NavPress says:
Contemplative prayer is a
form of meditative prayer that focuses on communing
with God. Although sometimes confused with its Eastern
(and non-Christian) counterpart, true Christian
meditation has been practiced since Bible times.
Typically, we have found that
if something sounds eastern or mystical, it's because
it is eastern or mystical. Eugene Peterson's
book rings of the mystical, and we hope parents will
avoid putting their children in contact with it. In
a way lectio divina could be legitimately considered
a gateway mystical practice,
the same way marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous
drugs such as heroin or meth.
And whosoever shall offend
one of these little ones that believe in me, it is
better for him that a millstone were hanged about
his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:42
For more information:
Eugene Peterson, The Message and Contemplative Prayer
Special News Alert: New York Times Article Shows Kids Are
Learning to Meditate in Schools
Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey - Promoting Contemplative?
Sad News for Preschool Children - MOPS heads contemplative
Awana Embraces Contemplative
Tony Campolo's New Book - A Review
by Pastor Larry DeBruyn
Tony Campolo and Mary Albert Darling have recently co-authored
a book titled, The
God of Intimacy and Action. The "intimacy"
to which they refer is experiencing closeness to
God by engaging ancient spiritual and mystical practices,
while the "action" refers to evangelism
and advocacy of causes on behalf of the less fortunate
in society. In the authors' view, mystical intimacy
stimulates and facilitates Christian advocacy. Private
spiritual experiences enhance public societal engagement.
Through practicing spiritual disciplines of ancient
Catholicism, mystical experiences, according to
the authors' thesis, become essential for and foundational
to the engagement of social justice for all. As
to the possible downside of mystical intimacy, the
authors seemingly write of "action" to
mute criticism that engaging in mystical practices
leads devotees, as typically has been the case,
to disengage from society and retreat into monasteries.
According to the authors, mystical experiences should
not have that effect. Click here to read the rest of this
Rick Warren's "Fasting" Book Points to Mysticism and
In Rick Warren's August 1st newsletter, there is an article by Presbyterian
USA minister, Lynne Baab. Her book, Fasting,
is also featured in the newsletter. In the article,
Baab calls fasting "an ancient spiritual discipline"
and when we fast we "clear away distractions."
She says, "We need all the help we can get to
keep our lives centered on Christ and to clear away
the clutter so we can pray and listen to God."
What the article doesn't say is that Baab is a proponent
of contemplative spirituality, and as most contemplatives
believe, the most effective way to "clear away
distractions" is through an eastern-style meditation
practice (e.g., centering, lectio, breath prayers,
etc.; in other words repetition on one thing). Does
Baab promote that kind of prayer? The answer to that
can be partly found in the book Rick Warren lists.
While Fasting by Lynne Baab cites the usual
Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen, Baab takes the reader
right into a host of mystics and panentheists. In
the back of the book, under "A Few Wonderful
Books on Prayer," Baab recommends several advocates
of mysticism like Richard Foster, Jan Johnson, Tony
Jones (emergent leader), and Lauren Winner (Girl
In this report, we would like to draw your attention
to two other authors that Baab recommends: David Steindl-Rast
and Thomas Ryan. Both men are Catholic priests and
both are staunch supporters and teachers of panentheism
(God in all) and mystical meditation. While some skeptics
may be saying right now, just because Rick Warren
recommends Baab's book, which recommends these authors,
that doesn't implicate Rick Warren. Really? When 400,000
pastors and church leaders get Warren's weekly newsletter,
the likelihood that at least a few thousand of them
will pick up a copy of Fasting based on Warren's
promotion of it is probable. And some of those may
see the recommended names at the back of the book
and turn to these authors for deeper teachings. So
yes, Warren's recommendation of this book does indeed
implicate him. But he has been doing this for over
a dozen years now at least as far back as Purpose
Driven Church when he said that Richard Foster's
spiritual formation movement was a valid message for
the church and a wake up call (see ATOD, chapter 8).
But while Rick Warren has been consistent in promoting
contemplative spirituality, he has taken this recent
promotion to a new level by indirectly pointing people
to David Steindl-Rast and Thomas Ryan. Ryan, a Catholic
priest, is also an avid Buddhist promoter, typical
for Christian contemplatives. In one article (click here), he is described as a "certified Kripalu
Yoga instructor" who teaches Yoga to Buddhists.
Ryan is known for his interfaith, interspiritual ecumenical
efforts 1. Interestingly, Henri Nouwen (also touted by Warren)
wrote the foreword for one of Ryan's books: Disciplines
for Christian Living. Nouwen explained:
David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic
priest (who was also a close friend and confidant
of Thomas Merton), is of similar spiritual persuasions
as Thomas Ryan. Steindl-Rast's view of the Cross and
the atonement is anti-biblical and heretical. In a
book he co-authored titled The Ground We Share,
Unfortunately, over the course
of the centuries, this [Christianity] has come to
be presented in almost legal language, as if it were
some sort of transaction, a deal with God; there was
this gap between us and God, somebody had to make
up for it-all that business. We can drop that. The
legal metaphor seems to have helped other generations.
Fine. Anything that helps is fine. But once it gets
in the way, as it does today, we should drop it. (from ATOD, p. 70)
He is referring to the atonement
here (Christ's substitutionary death on the Cross
for our sins) and he echoes many of the emergents
on this issue (see Faith Undone, chapter 11).
It is obvious that Lynne Baab sees these authors we've
just quoted as being valuable, otherwise she wouldn't
recommend them. This is not guilt by association--this
is guilt by promotion and endorsement. In conclusion,
the question must be asked, Should a book such as
Lynne Baab's be in a newsletter that represents itself
as advancing Christian orthodoxy? If Rick Warren is
successful in his efforts, then the church in the
future will resemble the spiritual dynamics of Thomas
Ryan and David Steindl-Rast.
Publishing News - Faith Undone is Here!
Lighthouse Trails Publishing is pleased to announce the release
Undone by Roger Oakland.
Is the emerging church movement
just another passing fad, a more contemporary
approach to church, or a bunch of disillusioned
young people looking for answers? In fact, it
is actually much broader and is influencing
Christianity to a significant degree. Grounded
in a centuries-old mystical approach, this movement
is powerful, yet highly deceptive, and it draws
its energy from practices and experiences that
are foreign to traditional evangelical Christianity.
The path that the emerging church is taking
is leading to an interfaith perspective that
has prophetically profound ramifications.
1. Ancient rituals and practices
brought back to life
2.The Eucharistic Evangelization
3.The emerging road to Rome
5.The emerging church's view
of Hell and the Atonement
6.How the emerging church
considers biblical prophecy and the future of
7.The key catalysts of the
8.Purpose Driven ecumenism:
Part of the emerging church's new reformation
9.How emerging spirituality
is altering missions and evangelism
10.Understanding the emerging
church in light of Bible prophecy
Click here for
more information and a chapter by chapter
synopsis of Faith Undone.
THREE WAYS TO ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING:
2. Toll Free Order Line: 866/876-3910
Quantity Discounts: 40% off retail for orders of 10 or more
copies, 50% off for international orders of
10 or more copies
We ship within 24 hours of receiving order.
This book will also be available to order from most
bookstores (online and walk-in) by mid-August.
If your local bookstore isn't carrying Faith
Undone, you can ask them to order it
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ORDERED THIS BOOK, AND IT HAS BEEN ON BACKORDER, all
backorders have now been shipped.
Lighthouse Trails Publishing's 2nd spring release, For
Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen is now here.
For more information on this book, click here.
* * * *
For information on our 1st 2007 spring
release, The Other Side of the River, click here.
SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS BOOKS:
Lighthouse Trails Publishing now has sample chapters available
online for most of the books we publish.
We believe you will find each of these books
to be well-written, carefully documented,
and worthwhile. Click here to read some of
Note: Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company. While
we hope you will read the books we have
published, we also provide extensive research,
documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, and newsletter. We pray that the books as well as
the online research will be a blessing to
the body of Christ and a witness to those
who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as
their Savior and Lord.
When mystical experiences and strange doctrines overtake his
church, one man risks all to find the truth ... a
Some of the topics this book addresses:
Word Faith movement
"Slain" in the Spirit practice
Emphasis on humanity of Jesus over Deity
Gifts & Calling for the unbeliever?
Experience versus Scripture
Repetitive chanting & singing
Understanding true worship