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Archive for the ‘Youth Ministry’ Category

Since posting this blog (which includes a repost about David Crowder’s contemplative practices and Catholic-leaning mysticism), I’ve read additional bits and pieces here and there about  Crowder’s contemplative and Emergent heresies. I decided to peruse Amazon.com, to see what I could find in Crowder’s own writings.

It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for. One of Crowder’s books is Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi (Experiencing God). It is immediately apparent  that the youthful, loved-by-youth Crowder is one of many poster children for occultish Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Spirituality, as well as the Emerging/Emergent movements.

Consider these quotes from Amazon.com. And these were found before I even clicked on Amazon’s “Read Inside” feature!

First, consider Amazon’s book description:

Praise is something we are, not something we do. Musician David Crowder redefines our perspective of God and helps us develop a habit of praising Him by reflecting on targeted psalms from The Message//REMIX.

Ideal for teens and those who love the beauty and music of the Psalms.

The above sounds okay – except for the reference the Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase. This should be a huge red flag.

In the Reader Comments, Crowder’s heresies become really evident. Consider this excerpt from the Reader Comments, by Amos M. Rawley (April 27, 2007):

Crowder uses the ancient practice of “Lectio Divina”, which he later explains. This method consists of reading Scripture not to try and pull things out of it, but rather slowly reading through a passage of Scripture, chewing it up, and just being quiet and meditating on what you just heard. Breathe it in slowly, absorb the perfume of God’s Word, let it settle in on you. Then, after some time, when settled, write your own response.

Crowder examines 21 different Psalms from the Old Testament (starting w/ Ps. 1 and ending w/ Ps. 150) in Lectio Divina style. In each of these very short chapters, he starts by writing the Psalm for the reader. All Psalms are taken from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message Remix”. This was for me reading these 21 Psalms in a new light than ever before. And the view was breathtaking. (I’m buying a Psalm book in “The Message” now, because I was so taken aback.)

After the Psalm, the reader will find Crowder’s own “lectio divina” on that Psalm. Crowder is an extremely unique writer and an amazing communicator.

[Following is a quote from his Psalm 29 “lectio divina”]: “”Let the knowledge of His transcendence bring us back to life. Let it flow like blood to sleeping limbs, and feel them tingle as they awake in awe. Shake life back into your legs and let them carry you running with wind and thunder. Shake life back into your chest and let your heart beat in pounding reverence. Let praise come face to the ground, trembling with life an awareness that we are found by a holy God.”

– pg. 70, on Psalm 29

Does a nun have to decide what to wear in the morning? No, she just puts on her habit… day in, and day out. And so should we, our Praise Habit, until it becomes “habit”ual.

On the back cover is a reference to Psalm 64:10; “… Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.” There’s a brief, three paragraph synopsis of the book, starting out, “Praise is something we are, not something we do.” This first of Crowder’s books is, on the back cover, recommended by Donald Miller (Blue Like JazzTo Own A DragonThrough Painted Desserts) and Brian McLaren (pastor, author of A New Kind of Christian, voice for the today’s emergent church). [Note – Miller and McLaren are just a few of the contemplatives and Emergents who recommend- and are recommended by – Crowder.]

Note – I plan to add more comments on the heresies of David Crowder. This is just the tip of Crowder’s deadly theological iceberg.

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[blog under construction]

Awhile back, I received a blog comment [located below my blog] from a high official in the EFCI denomination (Evangelical Friends Church International). Defending the EFCI’s practicing Spiritual Formation, this official wrote:

Spiritual formation is simply the study of and the pursuit of how people grow spiritually. I think that is the heart of the holiness movement, of which we are still a part. We work with the Nazarenes and Free Methodists to publish common curriculum that is widely used for Sunday Schools, VBS’s, and the like.

[In the above quote, I emphasized certain points by bolding.]

My response is, first of all, Spiritual Formation is much more than this EFCI official claims – it includes the occultish spiritual discipline of Contemplative Prayer/Contemplative Spirituality. Second, it is shocking to hear this person imply that Spiritual Formation (which EFCI pastor Richard Foster popularized in 1978) is now considered “the heart” of the Holiness Movement.  Third, the EFCI may still be a part of what is now  considered the Holiness Movement, but the Holiness Movement today is far different from what the Holiness Movement was 100 years ago (1).

Several days ago, I discovered the publisher of the “common curriculum” that Dr. Evans referred to above.  The EFCI and other Holiness denominations get curriculum from WordAction.

Following is the title of the WordAction website:

WordAction: Innovative Biblical Solutions in Christian Education for the Changing Church

Note the website title above says “Innovative” Biblical Solutions … for the Changing Church.” By “innovative” they obviously mean “new ways of doing church.” And by “the Changing Church” they mean “the  Emerging/Emergent Church movement.”

Note the  list of Holiness denominations, under their About Us link:

WordAction Publishing Company is a not-for-profit organization that provides relevant Sunday School curriculum and small group materials to enable people of all ages to discover God’s Word. Our resources are designed through the cooperative efforts of The Salvation Army, Church of the Nazarene, Wesleyans, Evangelical Friends, Free Methodists, and Evangelical United Methodists. WordAction is a part of the Nazarene Publishing House and has become the largest publisher of Wesleyan-Holiness Sunday School curriculum in the world.

I guess the term “Wesleyan-Holiness” doesn’t mean anything anymore. Unless it means a denomination that USED to be Wesleyan-Holiness at some time in its past. The denominations listed above have all strayed from their biblically sound roots, as Googling them can quickly determine.

Another point about WordAction: the youth materials they list come from the heretical Barefoot Ministries, with materials sold through the WordAction website (click on Youth and scroll to the bottom left). There have been a number of critiques written exposing the Emerging/Emergent agenda of Barefoot Ministries for the youth of Holiness denominations.

I hope to write a separate blog about Barefoot Ministries. For now, here are links to a few critiques:

http://www.gcmin.org/veritas/v002:credo.pdf

http://exnazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/immerse-another-tool-by-barefoot-ministries-to-promote-the-leftistliberalemergent-agenda/

ENDNOTES

(1) Holiness denominations of 1911 were Fundamentalist. That is, they adhered to The Fundamentals, a series of articles published between 1910-1915. Holiness denominations of 2011 are, for the most part, either New Evangelical or Emerging/Emergent. I would daresay, in terms of the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the 20th century, the Holiness denominations of 2011 are closer to being Modernist than Fundamentalist. Why do I say this? Because there is little difference between New Evangelical and Emerging. And the line between Emerging and Emergent is becoming more and more blurred. And, “Emergent” is nearly synonymous with “Modernist.” Shocking! [I hope to explore this 1911/2011 dichotomy further in a future blog.]

The following article claims that Christianity today still adheres for the most part to The Fundamentals of 1910-1915. Hogwash!:

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Evangelicalism-Standing-the-Test-of-Time-Thomas-Kidd.html

Note that the above website is far from being born again Christian – as the following list of  “featured experts” shows:

http://experts.patheos.com/

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(revised 10/14/13)

A number of postmodern (i.e. Emerging/Emergent) leaders have written statements criticizing “fundamentalism”. (I hope to list links with such quotes from these various leaders.)

I am defining fundamentalism here as “old fashioned”, born again, biblically sound Christianity. In the early 1900s, the term fundamentalist  was applied to those who followed The Fundamentals in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. This is how I am using the term “fundamentalist” here – not as in “Independent Fundamentalist Baptists” – although IFBs would agree with many of the articles in The Fundamentals. (In this article IFB Bro. David Cloud provides a good IFB discussion of the term “fundamentalist”.)

Below, Lighthouse Trails discusses one of the most shocking anti-fundamentalist statements I have read thus far from the Emergent/Emerging Church movement. This is an excerpt from the Lighthouse Trails Research book review of Brian McLaren’s book, entitled Finding Our Way Again. (McLaren, Tony Campolo, Leonard Sweet, RIchard Foster and others have at times taught and/or “preached”  in the Evangelical Friends denomination. And people wonder why I am upset with the Evangelical Friends…) Click here for the entire review of McLaren’s book.

… something in McLaren’s book has given this writer a motivation to continue with the work we do at Lighthouse Trails as long as we have breath. In McLaren’s chapter titled “Moving On,” he gives a detailed analysis of how the emerging church is God’s answer to a stifled, fearful Christian church. He explains that this merging church must infiltrate the “institutions that rejected it,” adding that “conservative Protestants have repeated their Catholic sibling’s earlier mistakes (referring to the Catholic church’s one time rejection of Galileo). Then he says: “But over time, what they reject will find or create safe space outside their borders and become a resource so that many if not most of the grandchildren of today’s fundamentalists will learn and grow and move on from the misguided battles of their forebears [biblical believers]” (p. 133). You see, McLaren and his emerging church fellows (Pagitt, Sweet, Warren, et.al) want to change the minds of our children and grandchildren. That is why Rick Warren once said that the older traditional ones will have to leave or die because they won’t change, thus the emphasis in the emerging church on the youth.

What’s alarming is that McLaren’s vision of infiltration is working. And he knows it. Listen: “At the center, safe space happens. A learning community forms. New possibilities emerge. A new day dawns. If the guardians of our fragmented religious institutions forbid their members to meet in the center, the members will not be able to comply. They will simply go undercover and arrange secret liaisons … Eventually, the shared resources, vitality, and new possibilities that unfold … will penetrate and reinvigorate … Trying to stop [this] … is a losing game … against the plotline of God’s universe.”

In the last chapter of McLaren’s book, “Theosis (via Unitiva),” he sums up his calling by stating that “The purpose of the via purgativa [the practices] is to prepare us for the via illuminativa [the awakening], and the purpose of the via illuminativa is to prepare us for the via unitiva [all is one], the union of our nature with the nature of God” (pp. 171-172).  He calls God “fire” and says, “We join God in being fire … Before the beginning … God was All, and All was God” (p. 175). This is the exact same message that Eckhart Tolle and Oprah are propagating. But while many Christians are now condemning Tolle’s message, they don’t realize that the very same message is permeating their very own churches. For those readers who care about the spiritual future of their children and grandchildren, it is vital they understand the meaning of McLaren’s spirituality in particular and the merging/contemplative movement in general. We believe this is an extremely compelling motivation and should prompt us as believers to defend the faith and the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

God bless you, all of you at Lighthouse Trails Research. And God bless all of you in various discernment ministries, who are working the expose the Emergent/ Emerging Church and Spiritual Formation/ Contemplative Spirituality.

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