Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MY RESPONSE TO THE USMB "Emerging Church Debate Casualties" ARTICLE

The USMB article, Emerging Church Debate Casualties, criticizes authors Roger Oakland and Ray Yungen on their books warning about the emergent church, and specifically regarding their warnings against popular authors and speakers such as Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll and Mother Teresa who have promoted or endorsed either the emergent/emerging church or contemplative spirituality. Click HERE to read the USMB article, Emerging Church Debate Casualties. My response to the article appears below it on their website. It is also found here:
You make this statement, "Many of the people mentioned by these writers are familiar to me as writers, speakers and ministers whose works I have read, messages I have listened to and ministries I thought were good. Youngen’s (sic) list includes Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll and Mother Teresa, and Oakland adds Roman Catholicism. Am I so blind to the deception of these people that I could not recognize apostasy right in front of my eyes? There are too many enemies!"

My question is this: What if you have not taken the time to do the hours of research that authors like Oakland and Yungen have? I have been studying the "emerging/emergent" movement for almost three years and have come to many of the same conclusions they have. Oakland and Yungen understand that authors, speakers, etc. who endorse those in the emerging/emergent church movement and its proponents are unwittingly leading their readers and listeners into contemplative spirituality (CS), the Trojan Horse of Eastern spirituality. The introduction of CS into the evangelical church was PLANNED by the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID) in the 1970's. If you are willing to do your homework you can find statements verifying this information online on MID's own website. The emerging church is the primary conduit of this mystical spirituality in the evangelical churches. This doesn't mean that everyone reading/listening to them will take the bait, but doesn't it behoove those who have studied the movement to warn believers about the dangers of this movement? We are to have no fellowship with darkness; witness to them, yes, but not fellowship. The associations and promotions of those you have mentioned (Warren, Lucado, etc.)result in spiritually dangerous, and I believe, illegitimate liaisons. This also doesn't mean that these men have erred in other areas of their teaching ministries (most of their teaching is fine, but it only takes a little leaven to leaven the whole lump!.

The emerging/emergent movement has many subgroups or roads, including the theologically conservative but culturally liberal groups. What many fail to recognize is that these roads, if they once were divided, are now once again converging into one. At the least, the thing they all end up having in common is contemplative spirituality or mysticism, since they all promote authors who are contemplative, even those who claim to be theologically conservative (Mark Driscoll, for example).

A return to plain Scripture and the simple way of the cross is a fine antidote to these obscure and nefarious movements. We are commanded in Scripture to test all things. Paul warned the churches over and over again in order to protect them from error. If the emerging/emergent movement is promoting practices that come from outside of Scripture, why are we not examining them more carefully? And why aren't people being warned about the errors in these groups. Have we become spiritual pacifists?

I put forth the challenge to you and all those in positions of spiritual leadership to take your responsibility to protect the flock from wolves and from doctrinal and practical errors (such as contemplative prayer) of the faith seriously. Much of the New Testament is written to warn and protect the flock in order to preserve "the faith once delivered". In our desire to be considered relevant and world-friendly we have failed to do so, putting the flock in grave spiritual danger.

September 22, 2009 @ 6:15 PM


I felt it was important to expand on my response as above to give concrete evidence that the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue planned an inflitration of Contemplative Spirituality into the Roman Catholic monastic communities and the Christian church at large with the purpose of spreading its interfaith message. Please note that this organization comes straight out of the bowels of the Roman Catholic "church" at the behest of Vatican II. The emerging church is enamored with the Roman Catholic practices of all forms of contemplative prayer, their love of mysticism and the practice of sharing the Eucharist, and this has led them straight into the arms of the Roman Catholic "church" and its love for exalting experience over the Word of God.

Please also read The Mystic Plague - Catholicism Sets a Spiritualist Agenda by former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett, describing the links between Contemplative Spirituality, Roman Catholicism, false religions and the new age.


Evidence regarding the agenda to spread mysticism and promote Eastern religions from the MID website- a report on the October 1977 Monastic Meeting at Petersham: Opening Session with Abbot Cornelius Tholens:

This conference has the very practical aim of helping monks and nuns, as representatives of the monastic world, make better known the Oriental renaissance, the discovery of mankind’s inexhaustible riches in Asian cultures and religions, of promoting a more universal humanism and establishing communion which will result in the using of each one’s characteristic heritage for the benefit of all.

In the quest for ultimate meaning in human existence, there is a monk in every man, and each one faces the task of integrating this dimension of himself. The monastic experience can be a bond of unity transcending dividing lines between religions. Merton pointed out that common contemplative experience must precede the dialogue and theology. The study of Hinduism, it has been said, is gaining popularity in the West partly in reaction against materialism. We are living at a moment in history when the Church is for the first time beginning a serious encounter with the Oriental tradition.1.
How can we help the West open out to the East? The East around us. How can we help others share in this task? How make Christian monasticism known in the East?

Some suggestions: we need a list of experts, East and West; of monasteries; of useful publications. We need exchange of persons between East and West; visits to ashrams. How can we instruct our Christian monks in techniques and methods of Asian meditation? Yoga, etc.

In answer to questions, Abbot Tholens pointed to some texts to be found in the New Testament which can serve as links to Yogic doctrines. Contact is most possible at the highest point of each religious tradition: this contact may be made in silence, but very really. In this way the East-West dialogue differs from ecumenical reflections among Christians. We need to start where we are one, in the Spirit of God. Even as Christians we must go beyond all thought. One is first a human being, then a Christian, then a monk. Christians are always “on the way” to God. The monk, as homo religiosis, is a point of reference for all men; each of us has a point of reference to the infinite.2.
The evening concluded, as did each subsequent evening, with a short prayer service led by Father Basil. The following day’s work began, as did that of each day of the meeting, with a meditation period of an hour guided by Abbot Tholens or by another Master making use of the Asian insights into the divine nature available also to Christians. “These prayer services, as well as the daily liturgies at 5 p.m., were held in a room adjoining the main meeting room. The prayer room was furnished with cushions for those who preferred to pray seated in the Eastern postures. The adornment of the altar (quite empty on a day of discussion of Zen; adorned with flowers situated at eight points of the compass when the emphasis was Hindu) and the style of the meditation carried out the Eastern themes. A short prayer service drawing from the Chinese tradition, prepared by Sister Helen Wang, concluded each morning session.3.


A list of quotes from the mouths and pens of emergent church leaders themselves revealing their false gospel, false doctrine and unbiblical practices, many of them adopted from the Roman Catholic cult, from calvaryadvisor.org:
"The church has been preoccupied with the question, "What happens to your soul after you die?" As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, "Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die." I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don't think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line." —Brian McLaren, (from the PBS special on the Emerging Church)

"Emergent doesn't have a position on absolute truth, or on anything for that matter. Do you show up at a dinner party with your neighbors and ask, 'What's this dinner party's position on absolute truth?' No, you don't, because it's a non-sensical question." - Tony Jones (at the 2005 National Youth Workers Convention)

"Meditative prayer like that we experienced in the labyrinth resonates with hearts of emerging generations."—Dan Kimball, (from the Vintage Faith)

"My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ," McManus, author of a new book called The Barbarian Way, said in a telephone interview.

"Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right."—Erwin McManus (from The Barbarian Way)

"Many Christians use "Breath Prayers" throughout their day. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath." —Rick Warren

"The fact is that contemplative spiritualitywill play a huge part in the Church of the future, and candles are just the beginning." - Duane Cottrell

"He [Brian McLaren] cites Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, with their emphasis on spiritual disciplines, as key mentors for the emerging church."—The Emergent Mystique, Christianity Today, 11/04

"We should stop to reflect and to treasure the words, to turn them over and over in our minds, repeating them ..."—Richard Foster, (Renovare)

"Some of the values of the emerging church are an emphasis on emotions, global outlook, a rise in the use of arts, and a rise in mysticism and spirituality."—Josh Reich (Creating Worship Gatherings for the Emerging Church )

"Church Should Be Like a Dance Club" —Josh Reich (Creating Worship Gatherings for the Emerging Church)"I stopped reading from the approved evangelical reading list and began to distance myself from the evangelical agenda. I discovered new authors and new voices at the bookstore." -Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen

Contemplative spirituality seemed to open up a whole new way for me to understand and experience God. I was deeply moved by works like The Cloud of Unknowing, The Dark Night of the Soul and the Early Writings of the Desert Fathers." —Spencer Burke, (The Ooze)

Serious-minded Christians have every reason to be alarmed by what is going on in the emerging/emergent church movement, its fuzzy theology and its mystical practices, and every reason to sound the warning loud and clear. Preachers, teachers and authors, who have widespread influence need to be warning the flock, not endorsing these false teachers who are spreading this error. On this website I have provided as much information as I can to help you understand why the church is in the process of apostasizing. The problem is that many people do not want to accept the facts even when the evidence is staring them in the face. This indicates that there is a spiritual blindness in place. Scripture warns of the falling away in the last days, that the love of many will grow cold. It is happening faster than you think.

Examine your hearts!
2. ibid
3. ibid

Monday, September 21, 2009


**This post was originally written some time ago, but I was not at liberty to publish it at the time. The first part of the post was revised and updated to reflect the changes that have taken place since then, namely the arrival of our precious granddaughter. The second part remains unaltered. It was written on August 20th.**

Well, summer is officially over. Our first grandbaby has arrived and our daughter and her husband are busy feathering their nest. Our two youngest children have headed off to Bible School emptying ours, so we are officially EmptyNesters now that they are gone. That title always sounds so funny to me, a misnomer really, since we as parents are still in the nest. What are we, chopped liver?!

Here's a joke for all you new fellow "EmptyNesters":

Soon after our last child left home for college, my husband was resting next to me on the couch with his head in my lap. I carefully removed his glasses. “You know, Honey,” I said sweetly, “without your glasses, you look like the same handsome, young man I married.”

“Honey,” he replied with a grin, “without my glasses, you still look pretty good, too!”

Joking aside, I thank God that my husband and I have maintained our relationship throughout those child rearing years. God has been so good to us. We have chosen to be honest with our children about our failures and asked God for wisdom, of which we have required a very liberal dose. His grace has carried us through the good times and the difficult ones. I've been telling people that if we could be perfect parents, who would need grace anyways (and boy, have we ever!). We entrusted our children to Him before they were ever born and we will not stop now that they are old enough to spread their wings. We thank God for the privilege of allowing us to be parents and look forward to what He has in store in the coming years, especially now that we have become grandparents. With all the ups and downs the years bring, we know He will be there waiting for us when we get there.

Click HERE to read a really great poem called Empty Nest by Mandy Baldwin.


August 20th:

Speaking of ups and downs, at this time I would like to ask for prayer. Although I have had physical problems for more than twenty years, this last year and a half, and particularly the last four months, have been especially difficult for me. At this time it looks like I am facing the possibility that I will have to stop blogging altogether. I am writing this post at around 3:30 AM because I cannot sleep, not because I have no peace, but because I am living with chronic pain. Many of the ordinary things many people do every day and take for granted are becoming either difficult or impossible for me to do. For me this means that I have to decide what my priorities will be in a very big way. I read a really great illustration about this the other day at a website called But You Don't Look Sick, an article called The Spoon Theory, that may help you understand. For any of you interested, September 14 - 20, 2009 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week (what a mouthful, eh?), called Invisible Illness Week for short, something I only recently became aware of through the devotional ministry blog of Rest Ministries.

I will be seeing a rheumatologist in the near future (I hope), a doctor who I saw a number of years ago who did not give an accurate diagnosis at the time, partly because my GP believes I have a rare illness called Adiposis Dolorosa or Dercum's Disease, and only very specific lab tests will be of any help in a diagnosis. Just letting you know that this is a tentative diagnosis, as he wants a specialist to confirm or deny it of course, but I have all of the classic symptoms. I have previously been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which is really a spectrum covering many diseases, some of them not well understood. (People with Dercum's may also have Fibromyalgia as a secondary condition but/and are also frequently misdiagnosed with it). Dercum's causes chronic pain , and may gradually or rapidly (particularly for women in their 40's) become very debilitating. At this point I am having difficulty walking some days, my right side being particularly affected. I am experiencing pain, weakness and a loss of balance and co-ordination. The more activity I do the worse it gets because activity causes the lipomas to irritate the nerves, so I am trying to keep occupied by reading, taking short walks around the yard and doing some light housekeeping as I am able. When I am in severe pain I am basically unable to do anything, not even read or watch TV. During this time I simply rest and do a lot of praying. (The disease also causes chronic fatigue, which may be the result of chronic pain).

Update: September 21/09:

I have been placed on some new and experimental medications and pain relievers and am receiving some relief from the pain (praise God!) but not from the chronic fatigue and weakness. I have begun to realize that I may never return to my previous physical condition. Although I have made adjustments in my lifestyle over the years to accommodate my health problems, the past few months have meant some drastic changes for me. Although I have experienced my "down times" emotionally, God continues to give me the strength, courage and hope I need one day at a time. I can still say with conviction that God is good to us, understanding that having received the earnest of the Spirit here and now, and that one day in the presence of Christ I will be made completely whole. For now, the spiritual blessings God has given me are enough, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Regarding this blog, I still have hope that I will gain enough strength one day to carry on with this since I know that there are people who have come across it and found it to be a source of information and encouragement. It is God who receives all the glory for that - I am only His channel, and I thank Him for choosing to use me. To this day I don't understand why that is, and yet I praise Him for giving me the privilege of serving Him in this way. I have made some of the most incredible friends, people whom I have met or become reacquainted with when they discovered this blog. God bless every one of you. Please continue to pray for me, it means so much.

A Bible passage which has come to mean a lot to me lately is the entire 26th chapter of Isaiah, and especially the highlighted verses. I believe this chapter is a prophecy referring to the "catching away" of the bride of Christ, a day which I look forward to with great anticipation.

Isaiah 26

1In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

2Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

5For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.

6The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.

7The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.

8Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

9With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

10Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

11LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

12LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.

13O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

14They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

15Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.

16LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.

17Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.

18We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.

19Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

20Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

21For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.