|Prayer Stations, Dark Sanctuaries, and Multi-Sensory “Worship”
by Roger Oakland
Stimulating images that provide spiritual experiences are an essential element of the emerging church. While many are bewildered as to why their churches are darkening their sanctuaries and setting up prayer stations with candles, incense, and icons, promoters of the emerging church movement say they know exactly what they are doing. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Fellowship once explained:
Everything in the service needs to preach–architecture, lighting, songs, prayers, fellowship, the smell–it all preaches. All five senses must be engaged to experience God.1
Often, Christians who have been attending church all their lives find the changes their pastors are implementing disconcerting, as they see the trend away from Bible teaching to multi-sensory stimulation. Dan Kimball quotes an older gentleman who had expressed his concerns about the implementation of an emerging style of mystical worship:
Dan, why did you use incense? I am not sure I like walking over to those prayer stations with all those props; can’t we just pray from our seats? Why aren’t you just preaching just the Bible? I wasn’t too comfortable when you had those times of silence, and it’s a little too dark in there for me.2
The comment by this gentleman in his seventies is typical of the comments I hear from many. But comments like this not only come from the elderly; many younger people are saying the same things. Both young and old are becoming concerned as they see multi-sensory mystical worship replace the preaching and teaching of the Word.
Nevertheless, Kimball and many others are convinced they are on the right path based on their view that emerging generations desire a multi-sensory worship experience. For example, in a chapter of Kimball’s book titled “Creating a Sacred Space for Vintage Worship” Kimball states:
[A]esthetics is not an end in itself. But in our culture, which is becoming more multi-sensory and less respectful of God, we have a responsibility to pay attention to the design of the space where we assemble regularly. In the emerging culture, darkness represents spirituality. We see this in Buddhist temples, as well as Catholic and Orthodox churches. Darkness communicates that something serious is happening.3
Kimball further states:
How ironic that returning to a raw and ancient form of worship is now seen as new and even cutting edge. We are simply going back to a vintage form of worship which has been around for as long as the church has been in existence.4
Of course, that is not really true. There is no evidence in the Bible that the disciples or the early church turned to a “raw” form of worship, especially one that needed darkness to help them feel more spiritual. If the early believers were in darkness, it would have been because they were meeting in secret to avoid arrest. To insinuate they were thinking about multi-sensory practices is an insult to their courage and devotion to God. Nowhere in Scripture is there even a hint of this. (from Faith Undone, pp. 65-67)
1. “The National Reevaluation Forum: The Story of the Gathering,”(Youth Leader Networks – NEXT Special Edition, 1999, click here),pp. 3-8, citing Mark Driscoll, “Themes of the Emerging Church.”
2. Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church, p. 127.
3. Ibid., p. 136.
4. Ibid., p. 169.
|3 Contemplative Proponents -Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, and Mark Driscoll – Named Among “Top 10 Most Influential Christians” of 2010
The Christian Telegraph, one of Russia’s largest online source for Christian news, has named Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, and Mark Driscoll three of the top 10 most influential Christians in 2010. Leonard Sweet is named top strategist of the year, Rick Warren top diplomat of the year, and Mark Driscoll top reformer of the year. Christian Telegraph’s chief editor Serge Serhiienko says, “What influenced the choices were their accomplishments in 2010, polling data and frequency of mention in the press.”1 What the article does not say though is that all three of these “leaders” in Christianity are contemplative proponents, which means that in view of this huge influence, thousands and thousands are being influenced toward contemplative spirituality (a belief system that ultimately leads to New Age thinking).
Lighthouse Trails has been documenting for nine years now the contemplative/emerging movement in the Christian church, and numerous articles (and books) have reported on the propensities of the three named individuals above. A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen has an entire chapter on Rick Warren’s promotion of contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation). Yungen also discusses Leonard Sweet. A “Wonderful” Deception by Warren Smith extensively addresses Rick Warren’s spiritual affinities as well as Leonard Sweet’s Quantum Spirituality. Faith Undone by Roger Oakland lays out information about all three of the men.
The reason for the present day deception that has come into the church is not limited to these three leaders however. Most Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities, and most of the large Christian publishing houses have all taken the turn to follow the contemplative/emerging New Christianity.
Why is this so serious? Because the very core of contemplative is warned about in the Bible, referred to as the “mystery of iniquity” (occultism which exemplifies that man is equal to or part of God). In the altered state that is brought about through the repetition of a word or a phrase, a feeling of oneness with all things is achieved. This connectedness to all things (Sweet has called it the Theory of Everything) negates the Gospel message, which teaches that man is not God or equal to God but is rather sinful and unholy and needs a holy Savior and a substitutionary atonement to be saved. But contemplatives come to embrace more of a Hinduistic or New Age belief that all is one and all is connected together.
| Understanding the Age of Aquarius and Metaphysics
by Ray Yungen
The term New Age is based on astrology. Those who believe in astrology believe in cosmic cycles called Astrological Ages, in which earth passes through a cycle or time period when it is under the influence of a certain sign of the zodiac. These Ages last approximately 2,000 years, with a cusp or transitory period between each.
Those who embrace astrology say that for the last 2,000 years we have been in the sign of “Pisces” the fish. Now they say we are moving into the sign of “Aquarius” or the Age of Aquarius, hence the New Age.
The Aquarian Age is supposed to signify that the human race is now entering a Golden Age. Many occultists have long heralded the Aquarian Age as an event that would be significant to humanity. That is why one New Age writer states:
[A] basic knowledge of Astrological Ages is of enormous importance in occult work.1
They believe that during these transitions certain cosmic influences begin to flow into the mass consciousness of mankind and cause changes to occur in accordance with the spiritual keynote or theme of that particular Age. This phenomenon is known as planetary transformation—an event they believe will bring universal oneness to all mankind. The view is that as more and more members of the human race attune themselves to Aquarian energies, the dynamics of the old age will begin to fade out.
To just what energies are we supposed to attune ourselves? New Age thought teaches that everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this God-energy, then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself. According to one writer, “Simply put, God functions in you, through you, and as you.”2
The Age of Aquarius is when we are all supposed to come to the understanding that man is God. As one New Age writer put it:
A major theme of Aquarius is that God is within. The goal in the Age of Aquarius will be how to bring this idea into meaningful reality. 3
To fully comprehend the above concept, one has to understand its essence, which is built on a belief system commonly referred to as metaphysics. The word translates as meta—above or beyond, and physical—the seen or material world. So metaphysics relates to that which exists or is real, but is unseen. In the book, Metaphysics: The Science of Life, one practitioner describes metaphysics as the existence of “forces and principles that are hidden from the five senses, … thus requiring an altered state of consciousness, and consequently, ‘known to very few.’”4
Although the word metaphysics is also used in non-New Age connotations, it is used in reference to the occult arts so often that the two have become interchangeable. From now on, when I use the term metaphysics, I am referring to New Age metaphysics.
Metaphysics concerns itself with the spiritual evolution of the human soul. This is called the law of rebirth, more commonly known as reincarnation.
Metaphysical proponents teach there is the seen world known as the physical or material plane and the unseen world with its many different planes. They teach the astral plane is where people go after death to await their next incarnation or bodily state.
Metaphysical thought holds the view that we are constantly caught up in a cycle of coming from the astral plane, being born, living, dying, and returning to the astral existence. They believe that the reason for repeating this cycle is to learn lessons that are necessary for our evolutionary training.
The earth plane is supposed to be the ultimate school. If a person flunks one incarnation, he must make up for it in the next cycle. This is called the law of karma. Reincarnation and karma are always linked together as there cannot be one without the other. The end result is: there is no evil, only lessons to learn.
What is the main lesson? That you are God. This is the basic tenet of metaphysical thought. The ultimate goal in metaphysics is attuning oneself to higher consciousness thereby gaining an awareness of these higher worlds or realms. How does one go about learning this? How is this perception achieved? According to New Age beliefs, the most direct way to achieve this is through the practice of meditation. Meditation is the basic activity that underlies all metaphysics and is the primary source of spiritual direction for the New Age person. We need only observe the emphasis that is placed on meditation to see the significance of its role in New Age thought:
Meditation is the doorway between worlds … the pathway between dimensions.5
Meditation is the key—the indispensable key—to the highest states of awareness.6
Meditation is a key ingredient to metaphysics, as it is the single most important act in a metaphysicians life.7
What exactly is meditation? The meditation many of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking about something. But New Age meditation does just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to still the mind by putting it in pause or neutral. An analogy would be turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond by damming the free flow of water. This is the purpose of New Age meditation. It holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. The following explanation makes this process very clear:
One starts by silencing the mind—for many, this is not easy, but when the mind has become silent and still, it is then possible for the Divine Force to descend and enter into the receptive individual. First it trickles in, and later, in it comes in waves. It is both transforming and cleansing; and it is through this force that divine transformation will be achieved.8
This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where the mind dwells on a particular subject. New Age meditation works differently in that an object acts as a holding mechanism until the mind becomes thoughtless, empty—silent.
English mystic Brother Mandus wrote of his adventure into these realms in his book This Wondrous Way of Life. He spoke of being “fused in Light,” which he described as “the greatest experience in my life” that gave him “Ecstasy transcending anything I could understand or describe.9
In order to grasp what this movement really entails the reader must understand what was happening to Brother Mandus. He wasn’t merely believing something on the intellectual level, he was undergoing a supernatural transformation. In truth, he had created a mental void through meditation, and a spiritual force had filled it.
The two most common methods used to induce this thoughtless state are breathing exercises, in which attention is focused on the breath, and a mantra, which is a repeated word or phrase. The basic process is to focus and maintain concentration without actually thinking about what is being focused on. Repetition on the focused object triggers the blank mind.
Just consider the word mantra. The translation from the Sanskrit is man, meaning “to think” and tra, meaning “to be liberated from.”10 Thus, the word means to be freed from thought. By repeating the mantra, either aloud or silently, the word or phrase begins to lose any meaning it once had. The same is true with rhythmic breathing. One gradually tunes out his conscious thinking process until an altered state of consciousness comes over him.
I recall watching a martial arts class where the instructor clapped his hands once every three seconds as the students sat in meditation. The sound of the clap acted the same as the breath or a mantra would—something to focus their attention on to stop the active mind.
Other methods of meditation involve drumming, dancing, and chanting. This percussion-sound meditation is perhaps the most common form for producing trance states in the African, North/South American Indian, and Brazilian spiritist traditions. In the Islamic world, the Sufi Mystic Brotherhoods have gained a reputation for chanting and ritual dancing. They are known as the Whirling Dervishes. The Indian Guru, Rajneesh, developed a form of active meditation called dynamic meditation, which combines the percussion sound, jumping, and rhythmic breathing. . . .
What we are witnessing is unprecedented in human history. Certain conditions have caused this flowering and brought society to a place where it is now open to the New Age like never before.
(Taken from For Many Shall Come in My Name, chapter 1)
1. Marion Weinstein, Positive Magic: Occult Self-Help (Custer, WA: Phoenix Pub., Inc., 1978), p. 19.
2. Anthony J. Fisichella, Metaphysics: The Science of Life (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1984), p. 28.
3. Weinstein, Positive Magic, p. 25.
4. Anthony J. Fisichella, Metaphysics: The Science of Life, p. 11.
5. Celeste G. Graham, The Layman’s Guide to Enlightenment (Phoenix, AZ: Illumination Pub., 1980), p. 13.
6. Ananda’s Expanding Light, Program Guide (The Expanding Light retreat center, California, April-December 1991), p. 5.
7. The College of Metaphysical Studies website, “Frequently Asked Questions About Metaphysics, Spirituality and Shamanism” (http://www.cms. edu/faq.html, accessed 03/2007).
8. “Yoga, Meditation, and Healing: A Talk with Joseph Martinez” (Holistic Health Magazine, Winter 1986), p. 9.
9. Brother Mandus, The Wondrous Way of Life (London, UK: L. N. Fowler & Co. LTD, 14th Edition, 1985), p. 28.
10. Swami Rama, Freedom From the Bondage of Karma (Glenview, IL: Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of U.S.A., 1977), p. 66.
|SBC Committee Decides against Expelling Members of Pro-Gay Baptist Alliance
From Discern the Times
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee decided earlier this week that a church’s membership in a pro-gay Baptist group does not automatically disqualify it from being part of the conservative Baptist denomination.
A membership condition for the SBC, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, states that a church is disqualified from being a member if it “[acts] to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior.”
Based on this condition, Oklahoma messenger to the SBC annual meeting last June, Wes Kenney, asked the Executive Committee “to consider any church’s affiliation with the Alliance of Baptist to constitute an action which affirms, approves or endorses homosexual behavior.”
The Alliance of Baptists affirms gay marriage and permits members of any sexuality.
But the Executive Committee members decided against banning all churches that are members of the Alliance from also being members of the SBC, according to the Associated Baptist Press. Instead, it decided that each church’s qualification should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Southern Baptist Convention is well known for its firm stance against same-sex marriage and for its position that homosexual relationships and acts are sinful.
In 2009, the SBC voted to oust Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas when it discovered that the church allowed openly gay members to hold leadership positions. Broadway Baptist Church last fall ended its 125-year-old affiliation with the General Baptist Convention of Texas. Click here to continue reading.
Related article this week by John Lanagan: What comes first? Homo-fascism or Homo-spirituality?
| Rob Bell Puts God on Trial – “Hath God Really Said?”
A Commentary by IndyWatchman (Steve Blackwell)
“Warning!! Love Wins, by Rob Bell”
Every marketer knows that it is the headline or title that causes most people to read news papers, or buy books. Advertisers will tell you that the most important thing when advertising is the headline. Pick up a Readers Digest, they have mastered the “headline.”
Rob Bell knows this also. LOVE WINS, A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Who can argue with the title of Rob’s new book? What sect of Christianity, or any religion, would deny that Love wins in the end? The question comes down to the definition of “love” and where that definition comes from.
In the sixties we were bombarded with “love,” and we have seen what that experiment has produced; a whole generation of babies murdered in the womb. Today, love is in the air once again, and Rob Bell has captured the essence of this love fest by making scandalous claims against God. He has put words into the mouth of God that are pure and simple lies; Rob has made God a liar. Rob’s definition of love has been plucked out of thin air, and can nowhere be found in the document given to us by God Himself. Rob’s definition of love comes not from the Living God, so it must come from another source. Where, or who, might that source be. There is only one other source; if it is not from Heaven then, it is from Hell; if it is not God, then it is Satan. This is a trustworthy saying, because it comes from the Book of Truth, the Bible, God’s own words. Read more: http://www.indywatchman.com/#ixzz1FEApC5Cv
|Protestant-Turned-Catholic Professor to Speak at Azusa Pacific University
A Lighthouse Trails reader sent us an e-mail today alerting us to an event taking place on March 2nd at Azusa Pacific University. The reader stated: “Use this information on your blog, newsletter or wherever. I believe it would be very interesting to parents and students considering APU as a choice for their college.”
On March 2nd, Azusa Pacific University, located in California, will hold its annual Common Day of Learning
, a “campus-wide conference dedicated to the commemoration and celebration of academic discovery.” The University website says of the conference:
The theme for this year—“Seeking Wisdom from Above” (James 3:17)—is based on the beautiful summary of godly wisdom: “Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”1
The University website also states: “As an evangelical Christian university, APU affirms the supremacy of Christ in all areas of life.” Although the school claims to be “evangelical” and “affirms the supremacy of Christ,” the university has invited Protestant-turned-Catholic Jay Budziszewski to be the key note speaker at this year’s conference. Evangelicalism and Catholicism have traditionally been at opposite poles in the past with regard to certain doctrines such as justification by faith alone, the role of Mary (Catholicism adheres to Mary being a co-redemptor with Christ) and the Catholic belief that the elements during communion (the Eucharist) are the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ (see Another Jesus). Largely due to the influence over the past decade of the emerging church, the contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation) movement, and the Purpose Driven movement, there has been a blurring of these essential doctrinal lines within the evangelical and Protestant church.
In April of 2009, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled: “Concerned Family Asks Legitimate Questions of Church Leaders.” The article was about a family whose teen age son, a student at Calvary Chapel’s Costa Mesa High School, was handed a copy of a book by Jay Budziszewski as a reading assignment for one of his classes. Our article explained:
Susan [the mother of the teen] learned that her son’s class was asked to read a book titled How to Stay Christian in College by J. Budziszewski. The students were to do a book report on the book, and then the class would study it in the following weeks.
Susan made a quick call to Lighthouse Trails and asked what we knew about this author. We had not heard of him, but quickly learned that J. Budziszewski (pronounced Boo-jee-shef-ski) was an author and professor who had converted in 2004 from Protestantism to Catholicism. We also learned he was a proponent of contemplative practices. He is a featured professor on contemplative-promoting Focus on the Family’s TrueU.org online university, telling students to practice lectio divina as a form of meditation.2
It seemed quite ironic that someone who had left the Christian faith to follow contemplative Catholicism wrote a book to instruct high school students how to remain Christian while in college, when he had converted away from evangelical Christianity. And knowing that a Calvary Chapel high school was using this book was troubling. Interestingly, the first person Budziszewski quotes in How to Stay Christian in College is Lutheran-turned-Catholic priest, the late Richard John Neuhaus, who many would consider a friend in the emergent/Catholic conversation.
We believe that parents sending their children to Azusa Pacific University need to be aware of the Common Day of Learning this year. Many Christian parents have sent their children to Christian colleges and universities (and Christian high schools) with the hope that these schools will help further develop the spiritual lives of their children. But the sad fact is many Christian schools today are influencing students with a mystical, contemplative spirituality that if embraced will take students more toward a Hinduistic view of God than a biblical view of God. Just read the documentation in A Time of Departing or Faith Undone to understand this.
After we posted the 2009 article about Calvary Chapel using Budziszewski’s book in class, Dr. Budziszewski wrote a letter to Lighthouse Trails. He gave us permission at that time to post it. In order to explain the spirituality we are concerned about and in view of Budziszewski’s upcoming speaking engagement at Azusa Pacific University, we are reposting his letter to us and our comments below that.
From January 2010:
On January 7th, Lighthouse Trails received the following e-mail from a professor, J. Budziszewski (Boo-je-shef-skee), who was discussed in one of our 2009 articles. Professor Budziszewski has given us permission to post his email. Below his email is our response to him. . . .
While it may be possible that Professor Budziszewski is not aware of the nature of contemplative spirituality, he nevertheless is promoting it. And it is important to understand that lectio divina is an entry point into stronger forms of contemplative mystical prayer, and warning about it is completely in line with biblical injunctions about dangerous practices. Lectio divina is a practice, which involves mantric-like repetition and focus of words and phrases (usually from the Bible) and is directly related to the contemplative spirituality of which Lighthouse Trails is opposed to. As one definition describes the practice of lectio divina, “lectio divina begin[s] with deep, cleansing breaths and reciting a chosen phrase or word over and over to help free the mind.” In Tony Jones’ book, Divine Intervention: Encountering God Through Lectio Divina, Jones instructs: “[R]epeat the word or phrase over and over in your mind, almost like a mantra (p. 72).
Letter from Professor Budziszewski to Lighthouse Trails – His comments in bold black:
Your article contains several erroneous statements about my beliefs and teachings, which are already being quoted on other websites. In a spirit of truth, I ask you to correct them before they go viral. Here is the inaccurate paragraph:
“Recently we reported on Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s high school in which a teacher there asked his class to read, review, and study How to Stay Christian in College written by Protestant-turned-Catholic J. Budziszewski . The book has references in the back of some editions to mystic emergent Tony Jones, and Budziszewski himself is a proponent of contemplative prayer practices. Our article “Concerned Family Asks Legitimate Questions of Christian Leaders” illustrates what many families are going through in trying to protect their children and teens from spiritual deception. Christian parents must realize that the souls of their youth are at stake.”
1. “The book has references in the back of some editions to mystic emergent Tony Jones.” I have never read the works of Mr. Jones, have no idea what they are about, and have certainly never referred to them. Authors have no control over advertisements placed in the backs of their books by the publishers. [Our note: In our original article, we stated the following: Lighthouse Trails quickly obtained a copy of How to Stay Christian in College, and much to our dismay saw full page advertisements at the back of the book for books by Tony Jones and Eugene Peterson. We could understand why Budziszewski’s publisher would place ads for Jones, a major advocate for mystical practices, in the back of Budziszewski’s book. But we could not understand how Calvary Chapel could bring this into their school.]
2. “Budziszewski himself is a proponent of contemplative prayer practices.” By “contemplation,” the author [Lighthouse Trails] means New Age mental practices, which I have consistently opposed. I have never encouraged Christians to work themselves up into altered states of consciousness.
Please notice that the author[Lighthouse Trails] has not discovered anything offensive to the Gospel in the actual contents of the book. [Our note: In actuality, as noted in our original article, the first person Budziszewski favorably quotes in How to Stay Christian in College is Lutheran-turned-Catholic priest, the late Richard John Neuhaus, who many would consider a friend in the emerging church/Catholic "conversation."]
Professor Depts. of Government and Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin
Our response to Professor Budziszewski:
Thank you for your email sharing your concerns about our article.
In answer to your concerns, when we mentioned Tony Jones’s book being offered at the back of the book, this was not to associate you with his book but rather to question why a Christian high school would give their students a book that was advertising someone teaching a spirituality that completely negates the Gospel. We put the blame of this point to the high school, not you. I do think we made that clear in the article.
Secondly, we said that you are a proponent of contemplative prayer practices. We documented this in our original article with your Ask the Professor column (Focus on the Family) where you encourage the use of lectio divina, which is a contemplative practice. By contemplative, we are referring to the spirituality that Thomas Merton, Thomas of Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, etc. would resonate with. And we actually believe that in its very essence it is the same as that of New Age or eastern-style meditation. Practicing contemplative prayer frequently leads to a panentheistic view of God, as it did with Merton, Nouwen, and many others. It is the reason that Henri Nouwen (who had been a proponent of this type of mysticism), at the end of his life, came to the conclusion that he wanted to help people find their own path to God, be it Jesus or any other (see http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1355 for citations).
It is for this reason that we do not think Christian schools should use any book whose author encourages contemplative spirituality, which you do. I do not mean to be disrespectful, but perhaps you do not understand the serious implications of the present spiritual formation movement that completely adheres to the spirituality of Thomas Merton, who stated the following:
“It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are … If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are. I suppose the big problem would be that we would bow down and worship each other…. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth….This little point … is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.” (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pp. 157-158)
Merton also told Matthew Fox that he felt sorry for the hippies in the 60s who were dropping LSD because they could practice contemplative and get the same effect (altered states). Merton knew it was the same thing.
We are convinced that contemplative spirituality is indeed very dangerous to the Gospel and is of the same nature as New Age or eastern-style mysticism. For example, one of the leading teachers and proponents of contemplative prayer in the world, Catholic priest Thomas Keating of Contemplative Outreach, says that many people doing contemplative prayer experience kundalini awakening.* Check out that word on the Internet for its meaning. And Richard Kirby, an Anglican mystic, said: “The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics; it is no accident that both traditions use the same word for the highest reaches of their respective activities: contemplation” (samadhi in yoga).**
One of the leading teachers of contemplative prayer in Germany, Willigis Jaeger, said that the contemplative tradition is an esoteric practice on par with Zen, Yoga, and Sufism (Islamic mysticism). (from his book Search for the Meaning of Life)
These are proponents and teachers of the practice that are saying contemplative is New Age. In essence, they would agree with us, only from the opposite perspective.
Jay, we mean you no harm. This is not in any way meant to be an attack on you as a person. But we believe this mystical paradigm that has come into so much of evangelical Christianity does not line up with Scripture or the Gospel, and as believers we are compelled to defend this Gospel.
In closing, I would like to add two things. First, if you would like us to post your letter to us so readers can see your side of it, we will do this. Secondly, we would like to send you a complimentary copy of A Time of Departing, which addresses this issue, if you will allow us.
Lighthouse Trails editors
*Keating said this in the foreword of Philip St. Romain’s book, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality.
** Richard Kirby, The Mission of Mysticism, p. 7.
A final commentary by LT:In closing, we would like to state that “Christian” contemplation (i.e., contemplative prayer) is in nature the same as New Age or eastern-style meditation as Keating, Romain, etc. state. Therefore, it is obvious that “Christian’ contemplative is NOT Christian. An article we featured a number of years ago, written by a Hindu professor reiterates this, and it would be worthwhile to read it: “There is No Christian Yoga”by Yogi Bama Prem.
And lastly, we want to bring your attention to an article that just came out in Christianity Today. The article, titled “Journey to the Center,” illustrates how dangerous the new mystical spirituality really is. It features a woman, Joanna Quintrell, a formerly-traditional Christian who decided to seek out those in the New Age after “hearing” a message from God with the words: Journey Center: Christ-centered spirituality, healing, and wholeness. She began attending a New Age fair and did meet a New Age woman, with whom she formed a friendship. As the Christian woman continued attending the New Age fair, her views began to change as she “found out that Jesus was already there.” Soon after, Quintrell began a program at her church teaching contemplative prayer and spiritual formation. Eventually, she became convinced that “Christ” was a bridge between the various spiritualities. Today, Quintrell is no longer working with that church but helped to start a center called Journey Center in Santa Rosa California, which is an interfaith contemplative center that offers opportunity for many meditative practices including yoga, therapeutic touch, and a labyrinth. Specifically, one of those practices is lectio divina, again making our point that lectio divina is part of this mystical realm.
It is sad to note that the Christianity Today article, written by staff writer Tim Stafford, shows no negative reaction to what happened to this woman but writes in a neutral or even affirming manner. Another example of how the new spirituality has infiltrated the evangelical church.
Note about Budziszewski and lectio divina: Professor Budziszewski also promotes lectio divina in his book, Ask Me Anything (Book 2) where he tells readers that in prayer, some forms of prayer are “too limited,” and that we should draw from the “riches of Christian traditions of prayer and meditation” (p. 99). He then suggests to readers that they try Stations of the Cross or the “spiritual exercise called lectio divina.”
To date, Professor Budziszewski has not acknowledged whether we can send him a complimentary copy of A Time of Departing.
Note about Azusa:As of today’s date, the term “spiritual formation” shows up over 600 times on Azusa’s search engine, the school promotes the use of the labyrinth, recommends books by contemplatives such as David Benner, Richard Foster, Adele Alhberg Calhoun, and Henri Nouwen, and has an Interim Director in the Doctor of Ministry Program who served alongside Brian McLaren at McLaren’s former church.
Read Castles in the Sand,a novel that addresses the dangers of lectio divina and contemplative spirituality.
| Understand the Times Banquet – 20 Years of Ministry – Giving Thanks to the Lord
|On the last weekend of February, Roger Oakland's ministry Understand the Times celebrated its 20th anniversary in ministry, giving thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness during this time. Many of Roger's friends and colleagues joined him for a special evening of praise to the Lord. See this special slide-show we have put together below. Also we have compiled letters written by various people who have been associated with Understand the Times during the past 20 years. You may read them by clicking here. Also, one of the couples who attended the banquet sent Lighthouse Trails the letter below.
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
We wanted to take the time to tell you about our Friday night. We had the pleasure of going to Roger Oakland’s 20th banquet for Understand the Times. What a blessing ! The music was Terry Clark and his wife. It was a mini concert of true worship. There were many wonderful God-fearing, loyal friends and supporters of both Roger Oakland and Understand The Times.
The accolades and testimonies were abundant. By the nights end, we had a very clear understanding of the selfless, godly, ministry that this is. His only concern is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and expose “proven” false doctrine and Apostasy / emergent / New age teachings.
He is so concerned for the children of UTT’S orphanages. His passion for the children is so evident, and his heart breaks regarding funds being taken from these babies / children’s mouths, along with the Gospel being preached to them !! How can churches who once supported UTT do this just because TRUTH against Apostasy has been spoken ?? THESE ARE CHILDREN LIVES, THESE ARE CHILDREN’S SOULS !!! Where are the TRUTH SPEAKERS ??
How can his past friends try to make Roger look off in any way? Because they are not willing to stand up against false teaching ? Loyalty seems to have alluded them also!
Not a more balanced man in ministry exists. We wonder what our Lord will say to those who have turned against this man and his ministry.
As these Last Days go forward, we know that the Delusion will come from “with-in” the Church. It seems like this has begun.
Well we are changing whom we give our tithe money to. We want it to go to a RIGHT-ON MINISTRY, to feed the children of these orphanages, both physically and Spiritually !!
These are dark times. We continue to pray. Thank you both for your continued hard work.
Two loyal supporters
For information about Understand the Times and their work, visit them on their website.