In 2006 Tony Jones, anti-theologian of the postliberal cult of the Emergent Church, wrote a little book called Divine Intervention: Encountering God Through the Ancient Practice of Lectio Divina (DIEG). Of course it was endorsed by his friend “author/networker” Brian McLaren–whom Jones lists among his “faith heroes” (19).

…but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. (Psalm 106:35-38)

Passing Your Young Through The Spiritual Fire

Brian McLaren, a prominent theologian in the Emerging Church, tells us:

Tony Jones has a rare combination of talents: down-to-earth honesty, heartfelt spirituality, intellectual vigor, street-level practicality, and an ability to write with extraordinary clarity and energy. You’ll find this book an important resource in your spiritual formation and growth (1, emphasis mine).

In addition Apprising Ministries reminds you that Jones’ book is also endorsed by Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean, an “ordained United Methodist minister” and a woman who is also “an assistant professor of youth, church, and culture in the field of practical theology and Christian education.” “Pastor” Dean tells us:

With the effortlessness of conversation over coffee, Tony Jones guides readers through the soul-shaping discipline of lectio divina. Tony has the gift of making ancient spiritual teachers feel as familiar as your college roommate. This is a wise little book, and it’s the best thing I’ve read for guiding novices in the life of prayer (ibid, emphasis mine).

So on the word of Emergent Guru McLaren, one of the major leaders in this neo-orthodox (at best) Emergent rebellion against the Bible, Tony Jones has provided “an important resource” for the “spiritual formation” of your youth. And Dr. Kenda Dean, ordained as an elder in violation of the Word of God, tells us Jones makes these alleged “ancient spiritual teachers” familiar to your kids to guide them “in the life of prayer.”

But what they aren’t telling you is that this so-called Spiritual Formation is a counterfeit Christianity of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which flowered in the anti-biblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism. And these ancient spiritual teachers in turn developed their own “spiritual disciplines” from the mystic musings of the equally apostate eastern “Desert Fathers and Mothers” who had originally taken them from pagan practices they had gleaned meditating with Hindus and Buddhists.

And also note above how Dean tells us that in DIEG Jones teaches “the soul-shaping discipline of lectio divina.” Actually that’s a bit of a play on words on Dean’s part because Jones has also written a book Soul Shaper: Exploring Spirituality and Contemplative Practices in Youth Ministry. Within it Tony Jones fills you in on the historical background concerning “centering prayer,” one of these “ancient spiritual disciplines” practiced by what have become known as “Christian” mystics:

Like the Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer grew out of the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers. John Cassian (c.360-c.430) came from the West and made a pilgrimage to the desert to learn the ways of contemplative prayer. (073, emphasis added)

One of these contemplative spiritual disciplines is Lectio Divina. Space doesn’t allow a detailed look at this subject so I will recommend a couple of excellent articles. One by my friend and colleague pastor Jon Cardwell called Lectio Divina, Central to Ecumenism and the other would be Lectio Divina–Sacred Divination which will also prove helpful.

Suffice to say here, in relation to how this kind of spiritual Russian Roulette affects your young, is that evangelical youth groups are now using the very dangerous practice espoused by Emerging Church leaders like Doug Pagitt and even his friend Rob Bell. And a favorite introductory of the practice of Contemplative/Centering Prayer As “Christian” Meditation in this so-called “Christian” mysticism of CSM is Lectio Divina. Jones explains that it is really rooted in what he refers to as “listening prayer.” He then tells us about this highly subjective existential experience:

Some people (although I am not one of them) have great success at “listening prayer,” basically prayers of silence while sitting and waiting for God to speak. The pray-er may ask God a question and then wait and listen until God answers it. Often the pray-er’s spirit is moved by God’s Spirit toward an answer, or she perhaps even hears a voice with an answer or a blessing (42).

Now to be fair Jones does go on to mention this type of prayer is “fallible” and that the Bible is “where we can ultimately and confidently turn to hear God” (ibid.) But while this does sound good, in the end—just as her mother the Roman Catholic Church—it is experience trumping the Scriptures for her duplicitous daughter that is the Emergent Church. This is especially dangerous for our kids being led like lambs to the spiritual slaughter at the hands of these semi-pelagian and mystic dreamers like Jones and his pastor Pagitt with their postevangelical religion posing as orthodox Christianity.

In the chapter “Where Did Lectio Divina Come From?” Jones tells us it originated from people “listening to the Holy Spirit in caves”. Also notice the connection of this highly subjective form of prayer to Lectio Divina as Jones tells us:

Listening is the key to lectio divina… Only a couple of hundred years after Jesus lived, devout men and women who were tying to prayerfully listen to God felt that the cities they lived in were too noisy… Between the fourth and the fourteenth centuries, hundreds of these pray-ers withdrew to cave sin the wilderness, and they became known as the desert fathers and mothers (47, emphasis mine).

“As The Father Has Sent Me, I Am Sending You”

The problem with this is that Jesus didn’t call His Church to go live in caves, He called us out of this world system as a peculiar people belonging to Him and then sent us back into the world to seek and save the lost as He had come to do. Trust me many days I’d love to be anywhere else, even a cave on the backside of a desert, than to man my Internet Firebase Apprising in this Truth War but we have eternity to rest. Our glorious King is at war and the Lord’s genuine followers should also be warring with Him against the powers and principalities using this egregious Emerging Church uprising against sola Scriptura to swallow up our young.

Let me leave this with a quick example from Tony Jones concerning how Emergent Wolves Enter Your Sheep Pens Through Youth Groups. What Jones is actually showing you below is how local churches are now sacrificing your youth through the spiritual fire of Molech:

It’s 7:30 on a Sunday night in August, so it’s getting dusky. Our church’s youth room is fairly large, with high ceilings. It lends itself to contemplative prayer quite well… I want students and adults who enter the room to think that in some way they’ve left their daily experience and entered into a transcendent holy space. I want the room to have an otherworldly feel. The lights are dim and I have placed candles all around the room…

Participants walk through a cloud of fragrant smoke as they enter the room. (About a year ago I purchased a censer–an incense burner–and incense and charcoal from an Eastern Orthodox supplier)…ancient Christian music [is] playing on the sound system… It’s otherworldly and adds to the atmosphere… PowerPoint slowly scrolls through images of Jesus on the big screen. This heightens the holy sense of the space and gives people a focal point for their reflection as they wait for the prayer to begin…

We call this night The Deepening. We hold it once each month to explore ancient contemplative prayer exercises. Although the youth ministry sponsors the evening, plenty of adults show up… We sing familiar, repetitive tunes. Enough about the evening will be unfamiliar, so well-known songs give a sense of security… The purpose of The Deepening is simply to introduce ancient spiritual practices (109,110).

But the grave spiritual danger is that these so-called “ancient spiritual practices” are in reality doctrines of devils which came through seducing spirits. And further, their incorporation into the Christian faith is the modern equivalent of Israel adopting the forbidden religious customs and idols of the pagan peoples around them. That’s why it is no light matter for Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren, arguably the most visible pastor in the SBC—the largest allegedly “Protestant” denomination—to arbitrarily reverse the Reformation by openly embracing the Roman Catholic Church as simply another Christian denomination. I refer the interested reader to “Bible Scholar” Rick Warren Reversing the Reformation.

These spurious spiritual rituals were already condemned by God long ago and by the time of Martin Luther this kind of neopaganism had so angered the Lord that He raised up His Reformers which the Church of Rome themselves anathematized and excommunicated—and even killed. Rome is the one who has rejected the Body of Christ and yet the highly ecumenical Emergent Church would dare to have this counterfeit Christian mysticism as its core doctrine. Look for yourselves and you will see that the original practitioners of these disciplines were Roman Catholics like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich and Francis of Assisi.

A couple of the recent Golden Buddhas who are highly respected in this heretical movement of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism are Roman Catholic monks Thomas Merton (1915-1968) and Henri Nouwen (1932-1996). Following is where these ancient spiritual pagan practices would lead each of them. By the time he was electrocuted Merton had all but become a Buddhist as you can see for yourself in Thomas Merton and the Buddhas and by the end of his life Nouwen was a universalist. In fact he said:

“Today I personally believe that Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her way to God.” (Sabbatical Journey, 51)

And the sad Truth is: You let ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing like Tony Jones around your young at their peril…and your own… Because you have already been warned that these Emergent rebels would be coming:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
(Acts 20:28-30)