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Archive for the ‘Mainline/Liberal Christian Mysticism’ Category

For anyone who doubts the love Spiritual Formation’s heretical Richard Foster has for Northwest Yearly Meeting of the Evangelical Friends (EFCI) and George Fox Universityand vice versa – consider the following excerpt from a web page reposted below:

Richard is a former pastor of  Newberg Friends Church, which is part of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM), and, as a graduate of George Fox, he has chosen to house his papers at the combined archives of the University and the NWYM.

Question: I wonder if discernment ministries will be allowed access to Foster’s archives, to write critiques of him. Consider the following procedural guideline, mentioned below:

Use of the Collection: Correspondence is restricted. Materials must be reviewed by the archivist before use.

Click here for the original source of the info reposted below.

Guide to the Richard J. Foster Papers

Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Richard J. Foster is the author of several books, which have appealed to a wide audience since the 1978 publication of Celebration of Discipline. Although he is ecumenical in focus, his works often reflect Quaker precepts that are described as an attempt to “promote a balanced understanding of the Christian faith.”

Foster is the founder of Renovare, an effort working for the renewal of the Church in all her multifaceted expressions. He has written numerous magazine articles, taught spiritual formation classes at several universities, and spoken in venues around the world. Richard is a former pastor of  Newberg Friends Church, which is part of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM), and, as a graduate of George Fox, he has chosen to house his papers at the combined archives of the University and the NWYM.

Collection Overview

The collection includes the following materials from Foster’s writing and speaking career:

  • manuscripts
  • writings
  • research materials
  • schedules of speaking engagements
  • interviews
  • invitations
  • calendars
  •  brochures
  • correspondence
  • photographs and media

Collection Quantity:

  • 64.25 cubic feet
  • 28 record boxes, 34 document boxes, 7 file drawers

Language: English

Future Additions: Further accruals are expected.

Use of the Collection: Correspondence is restricted. Materials must be reviewed by the archivist before use.

Subjects

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings:

  • Foster, Richard J.–Archives
  • Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
  • Renovare
  • Quaker
  • Spiritual formation


Contact:
Zoie Clark, GFU/NWDA Archives — zclark@georgefox.edu, 503-554-2415

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More and more Protestant churches are practicing Ash Wednesday. Why?

The postmodern (Emerging, Emergent and Emergence) movements are growing by leaps and bounds within the Protestant denominations. Many postmodern Protestant denominations (mainline/liberal as well as evangelical) are getting increasingly involved in Spiritual Formation (which quotes many Catholic mystics), as well as Ash Wednesday, Lent, Advent, and other liturgical “holy days” first practiced in Roman Catholicism.

My point is, more and more Protestant churches are “giving in” to Catholic teachings and practices, not vice versa. Which brings us to the five solas. Protestant church leaders, who have traditionally held to the five solas, are presenting more and more practices from Catholicism, which does not hold to the five solas. As a Protestant who believes the five solas are the true teachings of God’s Word, I find this very troubling.

Here is a helpful Wikipedia article, which mentions the various Protestant views of the five solas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas

Now on to a discussion of Ash Wednesday itself.  Regarding Ash Wednesday and Lent as times for true repentance, there are certainly many Catholics (and Protestants) who do not truly repent during these times. Why else the huge popularity of Mardi Gras the day before Ash Wednesday? In fact, there is an entire Catholic “Carnival” period between Christmas and Ash Wednesday: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/mardigras/ In light of this, it seems to me many Catholics are not truly repentant during Ash Wednesday and Lent – they are just playing church and/or trying to get to Heaven by “good works” and abstaining during Ash Wednesday and Lent.

I came across an excellent article by Craig Portwood exposing the pagan origin of Ash Wednesday.  Click here for the original text of this article. In my repost below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

“The pagan origin of Ash Wednesday”
by Craig Portwood

It’s not mentioned in the Bible. None of the apostles observed it. Nowhere are Christians commanded to keep it. It was not even officially practiced until nearly 1000 years after Christ’s resurrection. Like so many other non-biblical “Christian” customs, it has pagan roots. It’s a sad fact that modern Christianity has appropriated so many customs from the practice of the heathens, that one might wonder if it should still be called Christianity.

The early Pagan origins of Ash Wednesday

[The following drawing may appear irreverent, but I am including it anyway  to illustrate how unbiblical the practice of Ash Wednesday is. Throughout the Old Testament, God condemned Israel for borrowing a number of  “trivial” pagan practices from its neighbors. I believe our sinless Lord Jesus, knowing the pagan origin of “ashes on the forehead,” would have refused to take part in this sinful practice.]

This ritual “imposition of the ashes” is purportedly in imitation of the repentant act of covering oneself in dust and ashes. The marking of believers on Ash Wednesday is done in combination of another extra-biblical routine called “Lent.” Despite Christ’s command to his followers to abstain from the practice of disfiguring their faces during fasting, it has become a regular practice. He also told us to wash our faces during a fast.

The practice of putting ashes on one’s forehead has been known from ancient times. In the Nordic pagan religion, placing ashes above one’s brow was believed to ensure the protection of the Norse god, Odin. This practice spread to Europe during the Vikings conquests. This laying on of ashes was done on Wednesday, the day named for Odin, Odin’s Day. Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, one of Odin’s names is Ygg. The same is Norse for the World Ash. This name Ygg, closely resembles the Vedic name Agni in pronunciation.

The Norse practice which has become known as Ash Wednesday was itself, drawn from the Vedic Indian religion. Ashes were believed to be the seed Agni , the Indian fire god. It is from this name that the Latins used for fire, ignis. It is from this root word that the English language got the words, ignite, igneous and ignition. Agni was said to have the authority to forgive sins. Ashes were also believed to be symbolic for the purifying blood of the Vedic god Shiva, which it is said had the power to cleanse sins.

Lent

Lent is a period of 40 days preceding the observance of Easter, where the observers are expected to fast or cease from having the use of some other “luxury.” Like the majority of modern, so-called Christian practices, its beginning can be traced to heathen practices.
In his book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop observed:

Let any one only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the ‘sacred fast’ or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations, ‘went down to Egypt for help’ to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate church, and who could find no more excellent way to ‘revive’ it, than by borrowing from so polluted a source; the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn. That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation. Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the carnival, was entirely unknown….

In the early 19th century, German explorer Alexander von Humboldt noted the practice among the pagans in Mexico, being held in the spring. His account states:

Three days after the vernal equinox…began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun.

A Lent of forty days was also commemorated in Egypt. According to by English scholar John Landseer, in his Sabean Researches (1823), an Egyptian Lent of forty days was held in honor of Osiris.

There is a spiritual signature which bears witness to the spirit of these traditions. It is called Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It is the custom of living it up to get our fill of all the enjoyment the world has to offer before setting off to “Church” in mock repentance on Ash Wednesday. Such celebrations are an indication of the spirit behind the facade.

[Click here for the Wikipedia article on Ash Wednesday. And click here for the Wikipedia article on Mardi Gras, which includes a description of the “Carnival” time period between Christmas and Mardi Gras.]

The Truth

Christ made it plain in John 4:23-24:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

To be sure, those who observe modern “Christian” practices are religious. They may have personal conviction, but they are missing a vital element of the faith. They are lacking truth.

Mark 7:7

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The Bible tells us in chapter 9 of the book of Hebrews, that we are made clean by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of ritual or work of the hand of man can accomplish this.

1st Peter 1:13-16 tells us:

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The word holy means set apart, different from the rest. If we keep traditions which are not of God, how can we be holy? From what then are we different if we do as they do?

Not everyone has the conviction nor the courage to be set apart from the rest of the world. The sad truth is that mainstream Christianity lost her way, having fallen into apostasy long ago. This apostate tradition is continued by priests, pastors and preachers, ordained not by God in the power of the Holy Spirit, but by men in the spirit of the world.

And their followers wouldn’t have it any other way.

© 2010 Craig Portwood

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In other blogs, I have written about Spiritual Formation pioneer Richard Foster and his background in the EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International) denomination.

Discernment writer Ken Silva provides this additional info, regarding Richard Foster and Quaker founder George Fox. (Click here for the entire text of Silva’s expose.) Note: I have inserted some comments in [brackets].

… now that the Devil has established his “deep ecumenical” beachhead of CMS through his ECoD within our Lord’s Church they just needed to find themselves a leader who also happens to be an ecumenical contemplative. Ah, this brings us to the Guru of Contemplative Spirituality Richard Foster. Foster, who is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, aka the Quakers, [actually Foster belonged to the Evangelical Friends denomination as I mentioned above; why Foster did not join with “Inner Light-based” Hicksite Friends or the  liberal Friends General Conference is puzzling – unless Foster purposely remained among evangelicals to lead evangelicals astray]  is even touted by the Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren as a leader within the evangelical church itself as I showed you in Rick Warren Guilty For Endorsing The Cult Of Guru Richard Foster And His Reimagined Gnostic Mysticism.

You may recall one of my previous articles on Foster called Who Is Richard Foster? In it I clearly show that the Quakers are as ecumenical a bunch as can possibly be found, and I further point out that mysticism is a key component of their worship. I’d add apostate as well, but I for one, am not so sure that the Quakers were ever actually in the faith to begin with.  [Perhaps Ken Silva is not aware that Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite), which eventually joined the EFCI, was biblically sound between approx. 1854-1965; in fact, in 1877 and 1879 they condemned George Fox’s Inner Light teaching.] So for our purposes here let me just share a couple of interesting highlights from an entry of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience (HEMPE).

I also happen to find it interesting that this particular book is published by HarperSanfrancisco who just happens to publish Richard Foster. HEMPE informs us that the Quakers were “founded about 1650 in England by George Fox.” And that the:

Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, as it is commonly called, stresses a personal, almost mystical knowledge of God and the workings of the Lord’sinner lightwithin all people… At about age twenty, George Fox,…began suffering religious misgivings and spiritual longings. He consulted with various Anglican and Puritan ministers and priests, but they dismissed him as slightly deranged. Fox felt entirely alone until 1647, when at the age of twenty-three he heard a voice saying, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition” (556, emphasis mine).

This is exactly where George Fox and the Quakers who would follow him jumped track because HEMPE goes on to inform us that “[i]mmediately after, Fox received the first of four insights.” It is so-called insight number four that most concerns this work as we are told:

Fox’s fourth insight was that faith is based solely on firsthand knowledge of Christ as living, personal reality, not on logic, reasoning, historical reporting, or even Scripture. This empirical proof came to be called the Quaker Way: the idea that worshippers need not consult preachers or the Bible to receive knowledge of the Holy Spirit – the so-calledinner light of Christpresent in every human heart (ibid., emphasis added).

Here we have the agreement in Fox’s theology with classic Gnostic mysticism. Gnostics also taught that there was an inner light in man which they referred to as “a divine spark within” every human being. I cover this fallacy further in Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind. If this isn’t bad enough it now gets worse as HEMPE points out that in 1652 Fox “prayed at a place called Pendle Hill” and then “he received a vision explaining his mission to show Christ in the Present Tense as a personal Being.” Following this vision “Fox met with a group of Seekers who, overcome with his message, converted” (ibid.). And yikes, based on all the negative response at the original Slice of Laodicea website to one of my previous—and quite Biblically sound missives—Take Off The Gloves, I would shudder to think what might have happened to Fox if he had been around today.

Enter The Ecumenical Quaker Swami Richard Foster

Seriously however, this previous information is critical for you to understand the highly ecumenical theological background from which Richard Foster himself comes emerging…

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(revised 01/30/15)

I stumbled across the folllowing blog which addresses a number of issues I have written about. Namely, Quaker George Fox’s “Inner Light” heresy, universalism, Spiritual Formation, the Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible, etc.

I am providing excerpts from the blog below. Click here [broken link] for the entire original text of this blog. As of 01/30/15  I found this blogsite run by Tom Lessing, but could not find his 2009 article presented below. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. I have also corrected the grammar in a few places to make the excerpts more readable.

The Unholiness of the Renovaré Brotherhood’s “Holiness”

Posted by Tom Lessing on July 9, 2009

Adherents to the Emergent Church have an uncanny ability to tell their congregants what to do without explaining what they really have in mind. They have the knack to use biblical terminology very skillfully and expertly but often fail to elucidate the biblical meaning of the words they hit to and fro like a little ping-pong ball. “Holiness” is one of these words. I encountered this again in one of Stephan Joubert’s regular contributions on e-church under the title “No Steroids for Holiness.”Although it may be a very clever post-modernish title it wreaks of heresy from the very outset, especially when one takes into account who it was who coined the witty little maxim. But allow me to use Stephan’s own words:

You can’t cheat your way to holiness. Or can you? Presently, I am at the Renovare Conference in San Antonio, Texas where the theme is “The Jesus Way.” Yesterday evening I listened to one of my spiritual heroes, Eugene Peterson. In his fine presentation he stressed that there are no spiritual steroids for holiness. You have to live a holy life, one day at a time (emphasis added).

Have you noticed the little ink spots in Stephan’s declaration of holiness?

[The Spiritual Formation definition of  “holiness” is quite different from the born again, biblical Christian definition. For those in Spiritual Formation, “holiness” basically means proficiency in practicing the spiritual disciplines, particularly occultish contemplative prayer/contemplative spirituality. And one usually learns these contemplative techniques from a Spiritual Director who sympathizes with Catholicism in some way. The Spiritual Director, in my mind, acts as sort of a “guru”, a “master teacher”, an “expert” in Spiritual Formation.

Conversely, for the born again, biblically sound Christian, “holiness” means “personal holiness” – obeying the commandments of God’s Word the Bible (the 66 books of the Canon), dying to sin, living for Christ in purity, etc. One passage that describes this is Romans 12:1-2:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”]

What is Renovare?

Here are a few facts about “Renovaré”:

Renovaré is a movement within the Emergent church that was started in 1988 by Richard Foster, a Quaker theologian. [Although Foster has been  an Evangelical Friend, preaching and teaching in the EFCI, his writings betray him as a nonchristian with positions akin to  those of nonchristian, non-evangelical Quaker denominations.] The [nonchristian, non-evangelical] Quakers’ theology is based on the belief that everyone (believers and unbelievers) have an “inner light” which can lead them to truth while they wait and listen to its subjective leading, particularly with the assistance of contemplative practices such as “the silence” and “centering prayer.” Paul Lacout, in Quaker Faith and Practice, described a “silence which is active” causing the Inner Light to “glow.” Their complete reliance on the leading of the inner light has just about ousted the objectivity of God’s Word and its clear-cut doctrines. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Stephan Joubert pledges not to return to the Bible and the church but to advance forward to God (the inner light that guides all of mankind into the Truth).

As soon as you begin to tamper with biblical doctrine, heresy becomes your way and not as the Renovaré brotherhood claims “The Jesus Way.” The Quakers’ assertion that believers and unbelievers have an “inner light” substantiates their equally heretical belief in Universalism. George Fox and Robert Barclay as well as other respected leaders in the Quaker movement hold to the lie that all people are already saved from sin or will eventually be saved from it, the reason being that the Light is within everyone and nobody will therefore be cast into hell. Then there are those within the Quaker movement, such as the Quaker Universalist Group, who believe that it is unnecessary to have any faith in Jesus Christ. [According to Quaker Universalists] people of other faiths or no faith at all have no need of salvation because they already have Light within them… 

What does the Word of God teach us about the Light?

John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God (emphasis added).

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (emphasis added).

Richard Foster, the author of the Renovaré study Bible, endorses many Universalists and pantheists. Here are some of the revealing things they have said in their books:

“The Inner Light, the Inward Christ, is no mere doctrine, belonging peculiarly to a small religious fellowship, to be accepted or rejected as a mere belief. It is the living Center of Reference for all Christian souls and Christian groups – yes, and of non-Christian groups as well” Thomas Kelly:A Testament of Devotion.

“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 fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point… is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. Thomas Merton: Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk. Rob Baker & Gray Henry: Merton and Sufism.

The common denominator between Merton’s brand of Christianity and other religions is mysticism, in particular Buddhism. Stephan Joubert’s spiritual excursion to the Renovaré Conference in San Antonio, Texas is consequently no coincidence. He is merely strengthening his affiliation with his brothers and sisters who are extending a hand of brotherly affection to religions such as Buddhism, and affirming his agreement with Rob Bell who said that truth may also be found in other religions such as Buddhism. When Merton could no longer resist the mystic appeal, he intended to turn his back on Christianity. Guess who advised him to remain a Christian? No! You’re wrong. It was not a concerned Christian but a Hindu swami named Dr. Bramachari. He assured Merton that he could find the very same mysticism within the ranks of the Christian mystics. (Henri J M Nouwen: Contemplative Critic). Dr. Bramachari seems to be far better informed than most Christians of Paul’s warning in II Corinthians and seems to know that Merton can do more damage within the ranks of Christianity if he remains therein stead of becoming a converted Buddhist or Hindu.

II Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Merton affirmed that he could incorporate these mystical traditions into his own Christian tradition if he practiced tolerance of and an openness to Buddhism, Hinduism and other Asian mystical religions. Richard Foster’s entire philosophy is based on Merton’s and others’ contemplative spirituality and their efforts to bridge the gap between Western and Far Eastern spiritualities. Why would someone like Foster who claims to follow The Jesus Way endorse and follow Merton’s heresies? The underlying reason is to forge a new Christianity which gullibly utilizes Christian terminology, such as The Jesus Way and holiness, and gathers together every conceivable religious persuasion under a single umbrella called mysticism, simply because “everyone has the Inner Light.” Roger Oakland asks a similar question in his book Faith Undone:

Why would someone who claims to be a Christian as Foster does, after reading and understanding Merton’s position on East­ern religion, promote his ideas? Foster knows the kind of prayer Merton stood for was different from biblical prayer. He admits that Merton’s prayer lined up with that of Zen masters and Bud­dhist monks. And yet he said, “Merton continues to inspire count­less men and women.” [i]

Stephan Joubert  is obviously one of the countless men and women who have been inspired to follow in the Jesus Way of spurious disciples such as Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson and Thomas Merton. The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Study Bible which was released in 2005 has impacted many people to strive for a [so-called] renewal in the church. Besides Foster, editors included Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggemann, and Eugene Peterson…

[Blogger Tom Lessing then lists a number of heresies in the Renovaré  Spiritual Formation Bible, mostly dealing with prophecy. To read his excellent critique of the Renovaré  Spiritual Formation Bible, click here [broken link] for the entire original blog. Now for the rest of Tom Lessing’s blog…]

So, what is holiness anyway?

Holiness, in a nutshell, is to be like your Creator and Saviour.

I Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

In practice it means that God’s children should talk, think and act completely different from what our world system expects its citizens to do. It comes down to separateness, severance, apartness from the world system and everything it advocates and stands for. The idea of separateness is seen throughout the Bible. Let’s ponder the following verses from Scripture.

Mark 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

II Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

If you proclaim to be a Christian who follows The Jesus Way you dare not associate with false teachers and preachers. Holiness also means to separate yourself from them. It is impossible to plead holiness (without steroids) while you associate with people whose false teaching God hates, to such an extent that He said through the mouth of His disciple Paul:

Galatians 1: 8 and 9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Here are a few verses that warn us not to associate with false teachers and preachers.

II John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

II Timothy 3:5-14 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (emphasis added).

I have pleaded with you many times before, Stephan, and I want to do so here again: Repent of your disastrous way which is clearly NOT The Jesus Way and definitely NOT the way of holiness. It is the way that leads to destruction. You are misleading many people in South Africa. Please stop playing with fire and repent!


[i] Richard Foster, Devotional Classics, op. cit., p. 61.

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I just came across a book by Frank X. Tuoti, entitled Why Not Be a Mystic? (Crossroad, 1995). This book is chalk full of references to mysticism – especially the brand of interfaith mysticism popularized by Thomas Merton. Crossroad is a Catholic publisher; Tuoti’s book is obviously addressed to “Christians” (Catholic and Protestant).

The back cover states:

“Frank X. Tuoti, a former Trappist who lived and studied with [Catholic/Buddhist mystic] Thomas Merton and now lives in Tuscon, Arizona, teaches Centering Prayer and offers retreats on Christian mysticism and the spirituality of the Desert and Eastern Church Fathers. He is a member of the Tuscon Society of Spiritual Directors.”

The top of the front cover says: “In THE COMING AGE [emphasis mine], we must all become mystics – or become nothing at all”- Karl Rahner. And the page immediately following the dedication says simply: “The only cure for the angst of modern man is mysticism” – Thomas Merton.

Following is a review of Tuoti’s book by some New Agers.  [I do not recommend this website, but for researchers it provides a search window which leads to a great deal of info on labyrinths, centering prayer, etc.]

Why Not Be a Mystic? (Crossroad, 1995)

This book makes a good case for partaking in this spiritual adventure. The author, a former Trappist monk who lived and studied with Thomas Merton, writes clearly and cogently about mysticism as the high point of the Christian calling. It is not just reserved for monks and nuns. The mystical state involves “an experience of God in a gifted intuition” and “a response to the habitual presence of God.” Tuoti examines the spiritual benefits of silence, prayer, the awakened heart, and the link between contemplation and compassion. The mystical dimension of faith, according to the author, will be the deep and life-renewing wellspring of Christianity in the years to come.

In 1997, Tuoti became even more bold, showing the interfaith and New Age agenda of Merton and himself. Check out the New Age review of Tuoti’s followup book:

The Dawn of the Mystical Age (Crossroad, 1997)

In a follow-up to Why Not Be a Mystic? retreat leader Frank X. Tuoti has written this book. He believes that we have already entered a new era of higher consciousness [the New Age] characterized by the rediscovery of the sacred feminine, a democratization of spirituality, an emphasis upon the intuitive faculties of the right brain, a yearning for world peace, and a journey into the mystery of our inner selves.

This dawning of the mystical age, according to Tuoti, is already sending ripples of change throughout Catholicism even though the hierarchy is still trying to hold on to power. He notes, “the church will undergo considerable pain and anguish as it moves into THE NEW AGE [emphasis mine].” Tuoti peppers this invitation to enlightenment with quotations from some of his favorite seers including the German Jesuit mystic and Zen master Hugo Enomiya-Lassalle, philosopher Karl Jaspers, mystic Andrew Harvey, Catholic thinker Teilhard de Chardin, Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Indian poet Rabindranth Tagore, and Sannyasin Bede Griffiths.

Amazon lists these as the only published books by Tuoti. Yet I found the following book at:

http://www.sacredheartboise.org/adult/small_cc.htm

Awakening the Mystic Within, by Frank X. Tuoti

This generous collection of beautiful and inspiring reflections is designed to fire the hearts and stir the souls of those beginning the contemplative journey. Leads small faith-sharing communities to investigate the rich mystical heritage and tradition of the Catholic Church. (6 sessions)

A more recent reference to Tuoti is found at:

http://www.mertoncenter.org/ITMS/newsletter15-2.htm
[The newsletter is full of references to Thomas Merton and his interfaith teachings. And Tuoti is still devoted to Merton as we see here]:

Merton Happenings: On April 8 [2008], Frank Tuoti gave a presentation on “Thomas Merton: The Jesus Lama” at the Episcopal Church of the Apostles in Tucson.

And a 2010 person search points to info showing Tuoti is age 82 and possibly living in Tuscon, AZ:

http://www.123people.com/s/frank+tuoti

Let us turn our sights to Thomas Merton himself. What Richard Foster and Renovare is to evangelical Contemplative Spirituality, Thomas Merton is to Catholic Contemplative Spirituality and interfaith Contemplative Spirituality.

For a bio of Merton, see:

http://www.mertoncenter.org/chrono.htm

The Merton Center is a good starting point for researching what these Contemplative Spirituality apostates are up to currently. And it paints a picture of where evangelical contemplatives are headed in their slide into apostasy.

Click here for an excellent, detailed Christian expose of Thomas Merton.

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I have been seeing numerous references to Catholic mysticism when researching Spiritual Formation, the Emergent/Emerging Church, and occult Contemplative Spirituality.

Another quasi-Christian stream of mysticism is Quaker mysticism. Yet Quaker mysticism is not nearly as “popular” as Catholic mysticism.  Even Spiritual Formation pioneer Richard Foster (who has labeled himself a Quaker) – has quoted Catholic mystics much more often than Quaker mystics.

There is also another, more recent quasi-Christian stream of mysticism: evangelical mysticism – A.W. Tozer, etc. This stream also is not nearly as popular as Catholic mysticism.

I Googled the following search strings – here are my results (I’m sure there are overlapping results, as well as results which are not actually relevant):

[“Richard Foster” “Catholic mystics”] – about 10,500 results
[“Richard Foster” “Quaker mystics”] – about 94 results
[“Richard Foster” “evangelical mystics”] – about 483  results

[“Spiritual Formation” “Catholic mystics”] – about 2,590 results
[“Spiritual Formation” “Quaker mystics”] – about 66 results
[“Spiritual Formation” “evangelical mystics”] – about 87 results

[“Emerging Church” “Catholic mystics”] – about 12,000 results
[“Emerging Church” “Quaker mystics”] – about 60 results
[“Emerging Church” “evangelical mystics”] – about 487 results

[“Emergent Church” “Catholic mystics”] – about 3,330 results
[“Emergent Church” “Quaker mystics”] – about 47 results
[“Emergent Church” “evangelical mystics”] – about 204  results

[“Contemplative Spirituality” “Catholic mystics”] – about 10,000 results
[“Contemplative Spirituality” “Quaker mystics”] – about 61 results
[“Contemplative Spirituality” “evangelical mystics”] – about 28 results

[“centering prayer” “Catholic mystics”] – about 10,500 results
[“centering prayer” “Quaker mystics”]  – about 82 results
[“centering prayer” “evangelical mystics”]  – about 26 results

[“labyrinth” “Catholic mystics”] – about 9,630 results
[“labyrinth” “Quaker mystics”] – 8 results
[“labyrinth” “evangelical mystics”] –  about 6 results

[“occult” “Catholic mystics”] – about 11,900 results
[“occult” “Quaker mystics”] – about 6 results
[“occult” “evangelical mystics”] –  about 120 results

[“New Age” “Catholic mystics”] – about  13,800 results
[“New Age” “Quaker mystics”] – about 72 results
[“New Age” “evangelical mystics”] –  about 197 results

[“heretical” “Catholic mystics”] – about 11,300 results
[“heretical” “Quaker mystics”] –  about 37  results
[“heretical” “evangelical mystics”] –  about 280 results

[“false teachings” “Catholic mystics”] – about 1,090 results
[“false teachings” “Quaker mystics”] –  3 results
[“false teachings” “evangelical mystics”] –  about  35  results

[“apostasy” “Catholic mystics”] – about 11,800 results
[“apostasy” “Quaker mystics”] – 10 results
[“apostasy” “evangelical mystics”] –  about 285 results

Other Christian writers have also made the connection between Catholic mystics and Quaker mystics. For example, Ken Silva refers to Spiritual Formation’s “so-called “spiritual disciplines” largely culled from heretical Roman Catholic and Quaker mystics.” His great article on this can be found at:

http://apprising.org/2008/08/28/meditating-on-contemplativecentering-prayer/

All Catholic mystics are dangerous. But undoubtedly the most dangerous Catholic mystic is Thomas Merton. Merton makes no apology for his hybrid Catholic/Buddhist worldview. And Merton introduced Hindu-based “centering prayer” to Catholics and Protestants alike. See the following exposes of Merton and his followers:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/merton.htm
http://www.apostasyalert.org/Merton.htm

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Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) merges into the Emergent Stream

[The following blog, with the above title, has been copied and pasted directly from the following website:

http://firstjohnfourfive.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/coalition-for-christian-outreach-cco-merges-into-the-emergent-stream/

I am reposting this article because one of my alma maters is on the list of CCO colleges, and I am ANGRY – angry that Spiritual Formation, the Emergent/ Emerging Church, and occult contemplative spirituality has infiltrated my alma mater via CCO and other avenues.]

Does your college student attend any of these colleges? If so, they promote the CCO/Jubilee Conference held in Pittsburgh this February. Learn about the speakers who will be influencing college students, youth groups, and church staffs.

Karen Sloan: Presbymergent Speaker at CCO/Jubilee describes herself as Monastic, Emergent and Presbyterian.

From Karen’s Presbyterian side:

At the core of my work identity I am a Presbyterian pastor. No matter where life takes me, being a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a minister of the Word and Sacrament will be with me. What I do not yet know is where in the expansive PC(USA) structure I will wind up working over the long-term. God’s providence clearly guided the beginnings of my Presbyterian journey, and will to continue to do so in these ways of presbymergent/new monastic leading.

. . . my Presbyterian journey took an even more surprising turn as it collided with my Emergent journey.

From Karen’s Emergent side:

It was an honor to write for An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, particularly on such a sensitive, unspoken, but nonetheless critical topic as sexual integrity. As we dream and hope about what the church may become, one piece of that is an honest conversation about what makes for healthy sexuality. The chapter I wrote, “Emergent Kissing: Authenticity and Integrity in Sexuality,” hopes to contribute to that conversation.

From Karen’s Monastic side:

In the year between finishing seminary and my first job as an ordained minister, I wound up praying regularly with a group of Dominicans, and exploring various aspects of life in a Catholic order. I never expected this to end up in a book.  A significant part of my personal curiosity about Catholic life was bound up in my attraction to a man in the process of joining the Dominican order.

Karen Sloan’s book, “Flirting with Monasticism: Finding God on Ancient Paths” praised by Phyllis Tickle and Brian McLaren

Karen is a  graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Ordained PCUSA Pastor, member of The Presbymergent Coordinating Group for 2009-2010, and contributor to the Emergent Manifesto.

AND speaker at the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) / Jubilee Conference.

———————————————–

From End Times Apostasy Watchman:

I did a bit of follow-up research after reading the above blogger. Following is a link to ALL the speakers scheduled for Jubilee 2011. I hope to research each speaker, to find out their ties to Spiritual Formation, the Emergent/Emerging Church movement, and occult contemplative spirituality:

http://www.jubileeconference.com/category/speakers/

And, after even more examining of the CCO website, I’ve found more info on CCO’s Emergent connections. Check out especially the following link:

http://www.ccojubilee.org/about-us/where-we-serve/all-schools/

And, I am going through blogs at the following links, searching for blogs that expose “the dark side” of CCO:

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/coalition-for-christian-outreach/

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