O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD. For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.

Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. (Isaiah 2:5-8, ESV)

Looking Like Rip Van Winkle SBC “Leaders” Simply Press The CSM Snooze Alarm

Recently in Tony Campolo To Enlighten Southern Baptists In Virginia here at Apprising Ministries we once again reminded the Body of Christ that practice of corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which originally flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism, has already been poisoning evangelical seminaries for years now through so-called Spiritual Formation as promulgated by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster—with an intellectual assist from his friend and spiritual twin Dallas Willard.

Within that post I also provided the links to a plethora of CSM materials along with a Recommended Reading section from the Virginia Baptist Mission Board that features a number of highly questionable sources; not the least of which are the late Spiritual Master and Roman Catholic monk M. Basil Pennington, Linda Graybeal (Richard Foster’s personal assistant), SBC minister and mystic Dallas Willard, Emergent Church theologian Leonard Sweet, quasi-New Age Christian Ken Blanchard, and Emerging Church pastor Dan Kimball.

Also at the bottom of the page under “Emergent Culture Recommended Reading” we find a whole who’s who of the Emergent postliberal cult and its outright rebellion against Sola Scriptura such as Rob Bell, Spencer Burke, Shane Claiborne, Alan Jones, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, and Doug Pagitt. Only those who know nothing of the Emergent Church are unaware that CSM was a core doctrine of this movement from its very inception. Emergent Guru McLaren already told those who would pay attention that Foster and Willard were “key mentors” of the Emerging Church. So what did you think they were “mentoring” these initial youth ministers and youth pastors in; Reformed theology? Nope; more like De-formed theology.

The fact is that this CSM has now even taken firm root within entire State Conventions of the pretending to be “Protestant” Southern Baptist Convention e.g. the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as shown in Apostasy, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) in the SBC and Disease in the Church as well as in Georgia Baptist Convention (SBC) Now Promoting the Cult of Richard Foster. However, this spurious CSM has about as much to do with Protestant theology as Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) did with the Cult of Liberal Theology. And take a look for yourself in A Progressive Poisoning Of American Christianity at just how it was that what Martin referred to as “the most insideous and all-pervasive cult operating in the Church” first began to inject its lethal spiritual poison into the very bloodstream of American Christianity through apostatizing mainline denominations.

Here I will also take the opportunity to remind you again that I happen to be a Southern Baptist pastor (for now) and one who was graciously delivered by the Lord from apostate Roman Catholicism into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. So I will, in gratitude to Jesus, gladly point out yet again this most obvious departure from the proper Biblical theology recovered from the harlot who is the Church of Rome during the Lord’s Reformation currently going on today within the Slowly Becoming Catholic. Case in point is the Baptist General Association of Virginia bringing in a man like “Red Letter Christian” Tony Campolo to tell them what they want to hear, er, speak at “185th Annual Meeting of the BGAV” coming up November 11-12. (Online source)

And I also find it interesting that despite the many times I have exposed this falling away from Sola Scriptura within the “Protestant” SBC in favor of mere subjective speculations I have received but one response from any pastors and/or readers. And that email was weeks ago from a very higher-up within one of the SBC State Conventions mentioned above who assured me he was “concerned.” Uh-huh; right. Well, based upon no further response from my reply back to him my considered guess is that each morning while shaving he now has to stand back further from the mirror to keep from bumping his nose, if you catch my drift. Is ok though I can wait; I’ve been ignored before and should the Lord see fit to sustain me I have an infinite amount of patience from Him at my disposal. :-)

Progressive Christianity Is Neither Progressive Nor Is It Christianity

Men and women, as tedious as it can be at times this really is necessary background before we later turn more specifically to Campolo himself and to some of the issues I’ve been covering in Tony Campolo: “Christian Mysticism” Trumps The Bible. As this progresses we’re going to focus upon one of Campolo’s earlier Beliefnet articles, “Mystical Encounters for Christians,” as it concerns his own testimony about the CSM “discipline” of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP). Therein this “Progressive Evangelical,” as Campolo’s billed, gives us quite a bit of detail pertaining to his view about CCP and his personal practice of it. But before we look at that it’s important to introduce you a bit to what we’re talking about with the term “Red Letter Christian,” which I used earlier, and how it also relates to Campolo’s being a “Progressive Evangelical.”

Since the point of this work is more about Campolo’s CCP practice we’re not going to spend a whole lot of time with this right now. In “What’s A Red Letter Christian?” at the Sojouners website, home to “Red Letter Christians” (RLC), Campolo tells us that RLC originally came about from a meeting of “a group of religious leaders” disgruntled with what they see as “the alliance between evangelical Christians and the Republican Party.” Campolo also informs us that a man named “Karl Rove” was the one who “arrange[d] this union, which” would later become RLC.

Campolo further fills us in below concerning who was initially involved in RLC and what these people stand for:

The meeting was joined by the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine; Father Richard Rohr, a well-known Catholic writer and speaker; Brian McLaren, a leader of the emergent church movement; the Rev. Dr. Cheryl J. Sanders, a prominent African-American pastor; the Rev. Noel Castellanos, a strong voice in the Hispanic community; and several other outstanding Christian communicators.

The purpose of this gathering was not to create a religious left movement to challenge the religious right, but to jump-start a religious movement that will transcend partisan politics. Believing that Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, we want to unite Christians who are concerned about what is happening in America. We are evangelicals… Who first suggested the label? A secular Jewish Country-and-Western disc jockey in Nashville, Tennessee. During a radio interview he was conducting with Jim Wallis, he happened to say, “So, you’re one of those Red-Letter Christians – you know – who’s really into those verses in the New Testament that are in red letters!”

Jim answered, “That’s right!” And with that answer, he spoke for all of us. By calling ourselves Red-Letter Christians, we are alluding to the fact that in several versions of the New Testament, the words of Jesus are printed in red. In adopting this name, we are saying that we are committed to living out the things that He said. Of course, the message in those red-lettered verses is radical, to say the least. If you don’t believe me, read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). In those red letters, He calls us away from the consumerist values that dominate contemporary American consciousness. (Online source)

As you can plainly see in addition to theological beliefs there’s also a political agenda which underlies and unites RLC. But for our purposes here I will simply draw to your attention the name “Father” Richard Rohr, who is a contemplative Roman Catholic Fransican priest. Yet note above that Campolo, a “Progressive Evangelical” and ostensibly Protestant RLC, includes the Roman Catholic Rohr when he says, “We are evangelicals.” For more on Rohr I refer you to Who Is Richard Rohr? But by way of quick introduction let me point out that in January of 2008 Rohr was a “presenter” at Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening (Online source).

This event was sponsored by his own Center for Action and Contemplation, which Rohr founded and remains as director. There, in true contemplative mystic theology completely consistent with The New Spirituality, Roshi Rohr taught the equality of Buddha with Christ and the indwelling of God “in all things” i.e. creation:

The Four Noble Truths are the distilled essence of the Buddhist teaching. In this retreat, each of the Four Noble Truths will be introduced and explored, with emphasis given to the presence of each Noble Truth at the heart of Jesus’ call to awaken to God’s presence in every detail of our daily lives…

The teachings of both Jesus and Buddha call us to transformational honesty. They are both teaching us how to see, and how to see all the way through! They both knew that if you see God for yourself, you will see the Divine in all things. (Online source)

Anyone with eyes that see will know immediately this can’t be supported at all by the red letters, i.e. what Jesus taught, within the New Testament. But now you have a little working knowledge to show you that RLC is just another repudiation of the final authority of God’s Word in favor of highly subjective human feelings concerning a reimagined version of the old social gospel of liberal theology aka “modern theology.” What we’re actually dealing with here is a repackaged post-modern theology; a post-liberalism, which then leads us nicely into the term “progressive” as they apply it to Christianity. And now we’re essentially referring to the way, for example, someone like “Progesssive Christian” and fellow of the Jesus Seminar Dr. Marcus Borg reinterprets—oops, reimagines the historic, orthodox Christian faith.

The “Progressive” Campaign Of Take Over Within American Christianity Not So New

For those who may be interested I covered this a little further in “Progressive Christianity” Is Neither Progressive Or Christian but it’s actually quite close to the corrupt “Christianity” espoused by Campolo’s fellow RLC Diana Butler Bass, who also blogs along with Campolo and his friend Brian McLaren over at Progressive Revival. You should know that Bass is author of the book Christianity For The Rest Of Us, which the aforementioned Marcus Borg tells us is,  “The most important book of the decade about emerging Christianity and the renewal of mainline congregations.” By the way Bass is also “currently Senior Fellow at the Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral” along with Phyllis Tickle. Did you really think it’s an only odd coincidence that these same ol’ folks so often appealed to by writers within the Emerging Church e.g. Doug Pagitt keep cropping up together?

And you also need to understand that the Washington National Cathedral is a virual spiritual blackhole of postliberal and corrupt contemplative theology as you could find out in the AM article Who Is Phyllis Tickle? Men and women, the sad situation within American Christianity is the putrid progeny of the original cult of liberal theology slithering around within this current Emerging postevangelical rebellion against Sola Scriptura is right now using the exact same methodology to take over your evangelical seminaries and churches once used by their spiritually fetid forebears. Yet circa 1987 Walter Martin blew the trumpet in an attempt to arouse slumbering evangelical leaders who, unfortunately, would simply decide to lazily hit their own spiritual snooze alarm:

There is a progression that takes place in liberal theology: It begins with a corrupt bibliology, a corrupt view of the nature and the inspiration of Scripture. They havea corrupt theology because once you are picking and choosing from the Bible what you want, your theology has to suffer from it, because your human reason is corrupt… every major theological seminary that has turned from orthodox Christianity began with disbelief of Biblical doctrine. There wasn’t a single exception.

This corrupt Bibliology then lead them to the next step. Their Theology began to be touched by it, their view of the Cross, the Virgin Birth bwere both immediately questioned; then came the miracles of Christ… And finally they had emptied the Gospel of all its content; they were simply using the outward shell so that they go on collecting money from the people and the churches; because they knew that if the people in the pew knew that they were apostate, they’d throw them out. So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology.

And then finally we will take control of everything. The gradual process of feeding you theological poison until you become immunized enough so that you don’t know what’s happening to you. And when you wake up to what’s happening to you, it’s too late they’ve got everything. That is not a baseless charge, I stand prepared to prove that the Cult of Liberal Theology in the United States has deliberately and consistently followed this methodology to entrap, control and dominate the denominations and the churches of the United States and our educational institutions. (The Cult of Liberalism, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

 Postmodern Neo-Gnostics With Their Supposedly Superior Spirituality

For those who actually want to know, this is the backdrop against which one can really begin to see the agenda being pressed forward since the Trojan Horse of postliberal cult of the Emergent Church arrived within the walls of evangelicalism. As I previously pointed out in Tony Campolo: “Christian Mysticism” Trumps The Bible (Part 2) these neo-Gnostics are filled with spiritual pride when it comes to their reimagined form of so-called “Christian” mysticism. In their delusion they really do believe that its type of transcendental meditation—though they eschew that description—is the “common ground” upon which all of the various “faith traditions,” which is the neblous term they use for other religions, will eventually unite. And actually in a way they’re right; it is, but now we’ll immediately find ourselves in direct contradiction to what Jesus tells us about the future state of mankind:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:13-15).  

O, if only all of this was simply another campy episode of the original Star Trek but it’s not. However, at the same time based upon what Christ just said it sure doesn’t sound like as Christians we should be having meditation pow wows with other religions about some ficticious Fatherhood of God, Brotherhood of Man, and whatever neighborhood you live in, does it. No, the real role of the actual Body of Christ has exactly zero to do with bringing together of the world’s religions for the LORD God Almighty of the Bible. But you may find the following a little bit startling because this uniting of religions does happen to be the goal of the god of this age; at least for a time. As we begin to steer this opening article toward a close we have now come full circle in returning to the vehicle with which Satan will eventually temporarily accomplish his unity among religions—Mystical Encounters.

I can tell you that in my studies concerning the amazing influx of CSM within evangelicalism, and CSM has already been a part of dead mainline denominations for years, the one common thread I’ve seen in their interspiritual dialogues is the practice of meditation. However, no matter how many times those like Borg or Campolo repeat their mystic mantra these neo-Gnostics simply cannot establish any actual evidence whatsoever that this quasi-transcendental mediation was ever a part of Christ’s doctrine aka the Apostles’ teaching (see—Acts 2:42). This is because it’s beyond question that Jesus Himself never practiced or taught CSM and therfore neither did His Apostles. And if AM can survive, Lord willing, in forthcoming articles you’ll come to see from their own books that this supposedly Christian version of CSM with its CCP is really the same numbing of the conscious mind in a vain attempt to “journey inward” down into the supposed “true” or “authentic” self such as that found in the meditation of pagan religions.

These practitioners and teachers of CSM, for example Ruth Haley Barton who is currently teaching this skubalon at Zondervan’s National Pastors Conference each year, are well aware that this type of spirituality is of identical nature to that of other world religions e.g. Zen Buddhism and Hinduism. This is why they make such a concerted effort to try and get around this similarity by saying “the goal” of their brand of CSM “is different.” I’ve covered this a few times elsewhere so here we’ll just quickly call in an expert witness who’ll explain to you that the goal of CCP is actually to reach our alleged authentic, true, and sinless self. We turn to apostate Roman Catholic monk Thomas Merton—one of the most prized Golden Buddhas of CSM who had all but become a Buddhist himself by the time of his accidental death—who testifies:

At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. (Conjectures Of A Guilty Bystander, 158, emphasis mine)

But any way we slice, dice, and/or reimagine it, if there really is “a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin, we have a denial of the doctrine of original sin on our hands. However, to find the key we need to really understand what our mystic monk is driving at we’ll need to focus in on his mythical musing that inside of “our being” i.e. human beings there’s “a point or spark which belongs entirely to God.” Space doesn’t allow further discussion so for the interested reader this false teaching is covered and refuted Biblically in Understanding The New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind. For now I’ll just tell you that this fantasy is as old as mysticism itself and what is more it does actually find its own twisted root in Holy Scripture. ‘Tis true; O, but it’s also a lie.

How so? Well you see, a hint of this idea above about the Lord’s creatures, and for the really deluded even His creation itself, having a “divine spark” or “a spark of the divine” within is found in the Old Testament. Unfortunately for the silly CSM crowd it happens to have originated from the one Jesus referred to as “the father of lies.” Scripture does tell us that the Devil himself announced the following to His Creator — “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Yeah, the epitome of a bad idea. However, if someone believes that prior to the Biblical doctrine of regeneration all created beings already have a spark of the divine untouched by sin then then through these mystic fools Satan has, in a sense, made himself like God. And defined Biblically this is exactly what they have made themselves.

The More Things Change The More The More They Remain The Same

We close now with the following from “Mystical Encounters for Christians” by Tony Campolo who also uncovers rejection of the suffiency of Scripture and the love of self ala 2 Timothy 3:2 when he says, “When I sensed that believing in Jesus wasn’t enough and yearned for more, I turned to older forms of prayer.” No, these selfish spiritual babies crave more and the following will give you a small preview of the existential “feelings-oriented” form of spirituality he and his progressive people are attempting to pass off as orthodox Christianity:

It’s one of the most popular questions of our day: Is America having a spiritual revival? I think the answer is a resounding YES! But while men and women clearly have an intense hunger for experiences that will nurture their souls, many of these questing spiritual nomads have not found what they are looking for in churches. They have tried the church and have heard theological discourses and social justice sermons, but have failed to discover much that offers them mystical encounters with transcendent spiritual powers.

They long for experiences that could create the ecstasies of heart and mind that German phenomenologist Rudolph Otto [1869- called the mysterium tremendum. Consequently, many have sought and found spiritual food outside of organized Christianity or Judaism. Today, some of the most spiritual people I know claim to be without religion.
(Online source)

Next time we’ll look more specifically at what Campolo teaches in regard to Centering prayer, which you will see in Meditating On Contemplative/Centering Prayer is actually synonymous with Contemplative Prayer. Right now I leave you with a couple of thoughts in regard to what Emergent Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo has just said above. Let’s put a proper Biblical context to this continual Emergent whine about supposed seekers, who according to the mystic progessives, are sincerely seeking God. But then the stodgy ol’ fundies control the churches which is why “many of these questing spiritual nomads have not found what they are looking for in churches.” Again we see the typical play for sympathy and for the public to support their postliberal agenda.

The problem for these progressive psuedo-Christians is the Bible flatly contradicts that mistaken notion, which is another reason these neo-Gnostic mystics are attacking Sola Scriptura. God Himself has quite clearly told us:

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12, ESV)

If you wonder why the above citation of Holy Scripture is within quotation marks it would be because the inspired Apostle Paul was moved by the Spirit to reiterate something God had said previously; and not once but twice before in Psalm 14:1-3 and again in Psalm 52:1-3. We can be sure the Lord is attempting to make a point which He thinks is of critical importance. Let’s see if we can convey it in a “relevant” way as I paraphrase popular Emergent Church leader Dan Kimball; they don’t like God and they don’t like His Church. Also for those who don’t know about “German phenomenologist Rudolph Otto” he was a prominent theologian who denied the Deity of Jesus Christ along with the very cult of liberal theology Dr. Martin warned about above:

As a Christian theologian Otto was interested in issues within the Christian faith, although he – more than most theologians of the time – saw the history of religions as a necessary backdrop for Christian theology. His last work, The Kingdom of God and the Son of Man, published in German in 1934, is a major study on Christology, one that deals with the New Testament data but does so from Otto’s unique perspective on the history of religions.

This work made an important contribution to the study of eschatology in the formation of New Testament thought. Otto’s theory was that the ultimate source of the concept of the kingdom of God was the Iranian tradition of the kingdom of ‘Asura’. Jesus’ eschatology took the form of an announcement of the spiritual power of the end-time kingdom already here; Jesus’ own particular role can best be defined, according to Otto, as that of charismatic evangelist and exorcist. (Online source)

Now as it concerns the agenda of these postmodern progressive Christians which we have been discussing above you just might want to carefully note what I highlight below:

Rudolf Otto was also much interested in the sphere of practical religious experience. He offered many suggestions for a dignified celebration of the Christian Eucharist, and his own experimental liturgy embodied the sense of the numinous by culminating in silence. He proposed an ecumenical unity of all Christians in Germany long before the Christian ecumenical movement became popular.

Through his interest in symbols and ideograms he established at Marburg a collection of religious symbols, artifacts, and apparatus of the religions of all peoples. And his broad understanding of religious similarities and differences led him to propose and participate in a ‘religious league of mankind,’ challenging the people of all religions to unite against the common problems that confront human beings.
(ibid., emphasis mine)

And so a question now comes *ahem* emerging: Wherever have I heard this idea before?

See also: