Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (1 Corinthians 5:6, ESV)

Romanticizing Rome

It would appear so. A while back Apprising Ministries told you that Rick Warren And Peter Scazzero Are Up To Monk-ee Business and also asked is: Tim Keller Endorsing Counter-Reformation Contemplative Spirituality? Briefly, Leadership Network’s propped up Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren has actually been been up to spiritual monk-ee business for years now in opening the door for corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster—and his spiritual twin Dallas Willard—within the mainstream of evangelicalism.

Leadership Network (LN) has long pushed the idea that these alleged “spiritual disciplines,” which are now masquerading as spurious Spiritual Formation, are the key to transformation as evidenced e.g. in Leader’s Journey. In a couple of weeks at his upcoming conference Radicalis at Saddleback Church, which also features Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley, Warren is pronouncing his PDL blessing upon “evangelical” CSM guru Peter Scazzero, author of a couple of books just chock full of anti-Reformation propaganda and psycho-babble.

However, the truth is that this CSM originated in the Egyptian desert long after Christ and His Apostles through hermits known today as “the desert fathers and mothers”; who in turn, gleaned this version of so-called “Christian” spirituality from their interspiritual dialogues. It was John Cassian, the father of semi-pelagianism, who would then adapt the meditation of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) from these hermits and bring it back to the Western church where it would later fester and grow within the anti-biblical monastic traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.

And as such, one wonders why under Community Formation in their Small Group Ministries one of the “Recommended Resources” is The Emotionally Healthy Church (EMC) by Scazzero. Well, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we know that Keller tells us:

This book unmasks a “super-spirituality” in many churches that cannot deal honestly with the depths of our spiritual and emotional brokenness. Pete Scazzero shows us how the gospel frees us to admit our brokenness and then gives us many practical ways to move forward. I recommend this book for pastors and church leaders.
Tim Keller, Senior Pastor
Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

In EMC Scazzero recommends the Christian be Faithful to Your True Self as he asks a couple of questions:

Does how I am living my life fit with my God-given nature? Does it fit my true self (to use Thomas Merton’s terminology in his Seeds of Contemplation)? (144)

The book Scazzero references from the late Roman Catholic mystic monk Thomas Merton is decidedly anti-Sola Scriptura and is actually an ode to the highly subjective experience of CCP, which itself is a transcendental meditation-lite in an altered state of consciousness lightly sprayed with Christian terminology. Merton tells us:

contemplation [i.e. meditation] is more than a consideration of abstract truths about God, more even than affective meditation on the things we believe [sound familiar?] It is awakening, enlightenment [i.e. transformation] and the amazing intuitive grasp by which love gains certitude of God’s creative and dynamic intervention in our daily lives. (5)

Jesus Told Us To Judge The Fruit Because A Bad Tree Cannot Bear Good Fruit

Merton’s practice of CSM/CCP led him to becoming more like the Buddha than the Christ; in fact, you can read his nauseating idolatry for yourself in Thomas Merton And The Buddhas. And like more and more CSM advocates ala Brian McLaren and Tony Jones in the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church de-formation of the Christian faith aka Emergent Church—that’s now morphed into Emergence Christianity (EC)—Merton would deny the doctrine of original sin. Concerning an alleged “true self” Merton mused about all of mankind:

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are… I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other…

Again, that expression, le point vierge, (I cannot translate it) comes in here. 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,… (Conjectures Of A Guilty Bystander, 158)

Scazzero continues on in that same page of EMC to quote another CSM guru, the late Roman Catholic monk Henri Nouwen, who’s own life-long devotion to CSM/CCP would lead him to universalism:

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)

Perhaps it’s time for men like John Piper to ask some serious questions of Dr. Tim Keller. Why would someone who is Reformed in their belief system want to promote Roman Catholic mysticism, which is polar opposite of the proper Christian spirituality of Sola Scriptura. And this isn’t an isolated incident as Keller also endorses something called the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (SDH) by Adele Calhoun:

“I have long profited from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s gifts in the field of spiritual development, and I am delighted that she has compiled her experience with spiritual disciplines into book form. I highly recommend it and I look forward to using it as a resource at our church.”
Dr. Timothy Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC

I first discussed SDH in Southern Baptist Pastor Rick Warren And Saddleback Church Openly Recommend Contemplative Spirituality. No big surprise there, because in my opinion, the highly ecumenical Rick Warren is about as Reformed as I am Emergent. For those who don’t know, InterVarsity Press author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun is:

currently copastor, with her husband, Doug, of Redeemer Community in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She was formerly pastor of spiritual formation at Christ Church in Oak Brook, Illinois. A trained spiritual director, she has taught courses at Wheaton College and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. (Online source, emphasis mine)

Interesting that Dr. Keller would promote Calhoun at his Reformed RPC who, in violation of God’s Word, is allegedly a pastor. And right on the backcover of her SDH Calhoun tells us this handbook of heresy features “how to” information on CCP and Lectio Divina. O yes, as I peruse my personal copy of SDH I’m also informed that I can learn how to “open myself to God” through the Examen of Counter Reformation figure Ignatius of Loyola, founder of that militantly pro-Roman Catholic Church spiritual Gestapo Unit known as the Jesuits.

You may recall they weren’t real fond of Protestant Reformers. We’re also told that in Calhoun’s SDH we will learn the ways we can “reliquish the false self” through mantra meditation ala another Roman Catholic mystic John Main (1926-1982), which actually originated in pagan Eastern religions. Calhoun tells us we:

Go into silence, placing yourself in the presence of God with the words “Here I am.” As distractions come to mind, let them go by imagining they are boats floating down a river. Let the current take the distractions away. Don’t follow the distractions. Gently return to God repeating “Here I am.” Let the current of God’s Spirit carry you. What is this like for you? (110)

And wouldn’t you know it; one of the “Resources on Silence” Calhoun recommends in SDH is another book on CCP by CSM guru Ruth Haley Barton. Actually the list of “pastor” Calhoun’s acknowledgements in SDH is a veritable who’s who of spurious spirituality including the aforementioned Ignatius of Loyola, Willard, Foster; we even find the Empress of Emergence Phyllis Tickle, along with Roman Catholic mystics Richard Rohr and Teresa of Avila. Calhoun then informs us that, “Their ideas, voices and examples have shaped my own words and experiences of the disciplines” (10) that Dr. Keller is so “delighted” with.

A truly sad roll call indeed; and should provide even more reason to wonder, why would Dr. Tim Keller “highly recommend” so many who are teaching things rooted in apostate Roman Catholicism

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