Apparently there is some confusion as to whether three day retreats like “Emmaus Walk” and “Tres Dias” are heretical. I believe they are. Here we are going to look mainly at Tres Dias, but below you will find that Emmaus Walk and Tres Dias came from the same origin. These and other types of three day retreats are all part of the Three Day Movement, according to a Wikipedia article.
Note – below I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].
These “total immersion experiences” that Rome uses to indoctrinate her followers has found its way into the Southern Baptists as well through the Tres dias. The Cursillo Movement, which originated in the Roman Catholic church and sprung out of Focolare, is a three-day learning, sharing experience of living in a Christian community. Tres dias is one of three major spiritual renewal movements that emerged from the Cursillo Movement. In an article by Todd Starnes, he tells of one Baptist preacher, Paul Mason’s concerns:
“When several members of a Georgia Baptist church were invited to attend a weekend of spiritual renewal, their pastor, Paul Mason, didn’t give it a second thought. After all, “Tres dias” (Spanish for three days) sounded like it was a normal, weekend getaway sponsored by a mainline religious denomination. But a few months after they returned from the retreat, Mason realized he had a problem on his hands at Central Baptist Church, Douglasville. ‘When I asked them how the retreat went, they told me it was a secret. They couldn’t talk about what happened during the weekend,’ he said. Mason noticed that couples who had attended the Tres dias retreat were secretly inviting other couples to attend the program. After the church’s Sunday school superintendent went to the retreat, he abruptly resigned his church position without reason. And within six months, Mason said the couples who had initially attended Tres dias completely ostracized themselves from the congregation. The result, Mason said, was a divided church. Determined to learn all he could about Tres dias, Mason uncovered some unsettling information about a spiritual movement that is raising concern in the Southern Baptist Convention. Davis said a number of Southern Baptist churches have contacted his office with stories of problems resulting from the retreats. ‘It’s very strange. Some church members have done extreme things, selling possessions, becoming secretive. It’s almost like the weekend retreat has become the focus of their spiritual lives.’ George Osment, a lay leader at First Baptist Church, Scottsboro, Tenn., said the spiritual intensity is so great that leaders of one Tres dias retreat refused to allow a camper to leave. ‘This person wanted to go home but they wouldn’t let him. He saw what was going on and wanted to leave,’ Osment said. ‘They formed a circle around him and prayed over him.’ Osment said the secrecy surrounding the retreat has caused division in their congregation. ‘It’s very sad,’ he said. Said Davis: ‘Anything that involves a measure of secrecy sends up a red flag. There’s no need for anybody in a Christian church to keep anything secret.’”
And apparently Bro. David Cloud discussed this, in an article which I could no longer locate on his website. I am reposting the article by Bro. Cloud on this, which I found here, prefaced by an introductory comment as follows:
Below is an article by David Cloud I found a few years back. Unfortunately I didn’t save the link. Cursillo movements have been popular in Georgia since the 90s. “Walk to Emmaus” is part of the Cursillo movement and is usually associated with Methodist churches although people from various denominations attend. Tres Dias is another one.
Beware Of Ecumenical Weekend Retreat Movements
By David Cloud
Weekend retreats that emphasize spiritual renewal are becoming increasingly popular with church members, but believers must beware of the teachings and fellowships that are often experienced at such meetings. While many Christians with good intentions may think a renewal weekend will help their Christian walk and witness, many such weekend retreats are Charismatic and ecumenical in nature. Three movements that have become popular of late are Tres Dias, The Emmaus Walk and Chrysalis (aimed at teenagers). These retreat movements have emerged from the Roman Catholic Church’s Cursillo Movement and are now often sponsored by mainline denominations. The Tres Dias Movement, which broke off from a United Methodist Cursillo Movement in the 1980’s and is now nondenominational, describes itself in the following manner: “Christian, ecumenical, similar to the Cursillo movements, a Christian support group movement, a prayer/study/action small group movement.”
Recently, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) warned its members to be wary of the Cursillo-type movements, saying that such movements are secretive and divisive. SBC’s Tal Davis told Baptist Press that the focus of those who attend the Tres Dias weekend retreats “is no longer on the gospel or evangelism, rather the experience they’ve had” (BP, 12-29-99). According to Baptist Press, Davis has heard from a number of SBC churches who have reported problems as a result of the retreats. “Some church members have done extreme things, selling possessions, becoming secretive. It’s almost like the weekend retreat has become the focus of their spiritual lives,” Davis said. Paul Mason, pastor of Central Baptist Church (SBC) in Douglasville, Georgia, said those within his church who attended the retreat were secretly inviting others to attend. When he asked about the retreat, those who attended told him it was a secret and that they could not discuss what happened during the weekend of the retreat.
Mason noted that “one area of concern is the potential for participants to manifest Charismatic tendencies” (BP, 12-29-99). Defenders of the Tres Dias and other Cursillo-type movements reject the notion that these movements are Charismatic and secretive. Wilson Burton, Jr., a member of a Church of Christ congregation and a member of Tres Dias’ international board, told Baptist Press that even though some who attend the retreats experience Charismatic manifestations ranging from laughter to healing, Tres Dias is not Charismatic. “It is an encounter with the Holy Spirit,” Burton said. “The ministry is ecumenical in nature and actively seeks the participation of persons from all Christian denominations” (BP, 1-18-00). He also told Baptist Press that Tres Dias does not preach one theology but rather stresses what all denominations hold in common.
A careful look at the orientation, history and essentials of the Tres Dias movement, and other Cursillo-type retreat movements, reveals that such movements are unashamedly ecumenical in scope. One Baptist Press article noted that “Baptist, Lutheran, Church of God or Catholics, among others, may be represented on any given weekend” (BP, 1-18-00). Likewise, such retreats are often dominated by Charismatics within each of the denominations. No Bible-believing Fundamentalist should have any part of such a fellowship.
FOR FURTHER READING
Christian discernment articles exposing Cursillo, Tres Dias, etc.
The Cursillo movement is much larger than Tres Dias and Emmaus Walk, which are listed under Analogous Retreats in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursillo
And this article is also very helpful and revealing. It is about DeColores, which also falls under the Cursillo movement: http://www.michianachristianembassy.com/web_documents/decolores-many_colors__many_questions.pdf
Todd Starnes, NAMB official cautions churches to be wary of renewal weekends (Dec 29, 1999)
Tres Dias (includes links at the bottom to many additional articles)