This is a follow up to the Apprising Ministries post Rick Warren Wants Us To Learn From Henri Nouwen where I continue documenting the slide of the Protestant evangelical community back into the religious slavery of romanticized Roman Catholic mysticism, whose monastic traditions’ warped theology would eventually end up causing the Reformation as the result of their spiritually corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).

In that prior piece I showed you that Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren, pronounced “doctrinal and sound” by Dr. John Piper who’s giving Warren a forum within the Reformed camp as keynote speaker at the Desiring God Conference 2010, tweets the very Zen-like quote below from the late Roman Catholic universalist Henri Nouwen:

(Online source)

Over at the Crosstalk Blog Ingrid Schlueter pointed out in Rick Warren Tweeted New Age Mystic, Henri Nouwen:

You can tell what people believe by the those they read and quote. Rick Warren’s choice today was New Age mystic, Henri Nouwen, a Buddhist sympathizer who believed all paths lead to God. Nouwen’s New Age blatherings are on the ascendancy as apostate evangelical seminaries have abandoned Holy Scripture in favor of the teachings of eastern mystics. False pastors like Rick Warren dispense these pellets of contemplative pseudo-wisdom from their purpose-driven Pez dispensers on a regular basis.

Rick Warren’s tweet on Twitter today is a particular howler: “Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.” See source here.

Well, that’s certainly odd coming from the most overexposed evangelical pastor on the planet. Delivered on a site like Twitter, the irony is rich indeed. By the way, if the Word of God is our guide and not some navel-gazing, New Age priest, purification comes through the blood of Christ shed on Calvary. (Online source)

In Rick Warren Tweets on Henri Nouwen and Our “True Selves”  the leading online apologetics and discernment work Lighthouse Trails Research added:

Nouwen’s spirituality plays a key role in the “reconciliation,”  ”Kingdom of God on earth now”  “new spirituality” that has raced into the Christian church and is deceiving millions of Christians.

Rick Warren has perhaps done more to propagate this anti-biblical spiritual upheaval more than any other contemporary Christian leader. Even as far back as his first book, The Purpose Driven Church, Warren admitted to his high estimation of Richard Foster’s Spiritual Formation (i.e. contemplative) movement, the catalyst for this dangerous mystical spirituality that will eventually help unite all the world’s religions. If you are not sure what is meant by “our true selves,” please read Ray Yungen’s article, “The Cross versus the Higher Self”

Quotes (not taken out of context) by Henri Nouwen:

Today I personally believe that while 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 own way to God. (Sabbatical Journey, p. 51 Nouwen)The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart … This way of simple prayer … opens us to God’s active presence. (Way of the Heart, p. 81, 1991 ed., Nouwen)

[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian … Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book. (Nouwen writing the forward for: Ryan, Disciplines for Christian Living, pp. 2-3)

Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, … It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is. (Bread for the Journey, 1997, 1/15 & 11/16 readings, Nouwen)

The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being. (Here and Now, 1997 ed., p. 22, Nouwen)

It is Nouwen’s spirituality that the Purpose Driven Movement is taking people toward. Those Christian leaders who join hands with Rick Warren in solidarity, inadvertently, in essence, join hands with the paradigm shift that Nouwen and other mystics hoped for – where the “God in all” would be realized throughout the Earth – it is a realization that  ultimately rejects the Gospel and the atonement of Jesus Christ.

For documentation on Rick Warren’s promotion of Henri Nouwen, read our New Spirituality trio. (Online source)

Then in Why Is Rick Warren Quoting Universalist Henri Nouwen? Christine Pack of Sola Sisters wonders:

why is Saddleback pastor Rick Warren quoting Henri Nouwen and pointing the sheep of his flock toward an apostate Universalist?… Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen, who was deeply influenced by mystic Thomas Merton, taught what the Bible warns us about: “another Jesus.”  This false “Jesus” that Nouwen taught was a Jesus of universal reconciliation.  But for some reason, Nouwen has become the darling of the Emergent Church movement as well as many in the Evangelical camp…

Henri Nouwen’s teaching became part of something called the “Wider Mercy Doctrine” that has become very widely accepted in the world today, especially among missionaries.  The Wider Mercy Doctrine is a teaching that has been the cornerstone of Universalist belief for centuries.  It teaches that people can be saved whether or not they know about Jesus.  But this is in direct contradiction to Scripture which clearly teaches an exclusive, narrow gospel… (Online source)

Concerning the quote from Nouwen itself, Daniel Neades of Better Than Sacrifice tells us in How not to speak of Christ and His work that his friend, the aforementioned Christine Pack, “suggested elsewhere that Rick Warren might respond to any concerns by saying that, by ‘hiddenness’, he simply meant ‘hidden in Christ’.” Neades continues:

Let us therefore assume that this is indeed what Rick Warren intended to convey. The revised tweet would now read: “Hidden in Christ is the place of purification. Hidden in Christ we find our true selves.” That is better than the original, but I am afraid that I am still not buying it.

If Rick Warren means to make a statement concerning Christ and His work, why then omit mention of Christ (the crucial element!) and thereby leave so much potential for misunderstanding? Let us take the first sentence of this (generously) modified tweet: “Hidden in Christ is the place of purification.”

With respect to purification, I suppose that Rick Warren might be thinking either of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, or perhaps even our baptisms. Granted, the latter is unlikely, given that he’s SBC, but you never know.

Yet my justification, sanctification and glorification were not accomplished in a hidden place, but rather in full public view, the crowds watching (Matt. 27:35–56) as my Lord and Saviour shed His blood for the sins of the world (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2). And neither was my baptism performed in a secret place. (Online source)

Neades gets to the heart of the matter when he asks: “Why instead make a rather vague, abstract and self-directed (‘find our true selves’) allusion that many outside of Christ would find agreeable when understood in a mystical way?” Such is the nature of the irrational philosophy inherent in Nouwen’s mystical psycho-babble; but any way we slice it, we end up deep in the postmodern Wonderland of Humpty Dumpty language where words don’t really have any fixed meaning. However, the reason why Rick Warren sent out that quote from Henri Nouwen may become a bit clearer as we consider the below tweet; it’s rather revealing considering I’ll you in a moment that his wife Kay herself highly recommends a book by Henri Nouwen: 

 (Online source)

On the Saddleback Church website Saddleback Family in their Spiritual Growth Center we find a Saddleback Staff Picks section; under Kay Warren—Acts of Mercy we come to the below:

(Online source)

The first under “books that shaped Kay’s life” is Can You Drink the Cup? (CYD) by Henri Nouwen. You are likely aware that I have long been sounding the alarm concerning corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM)—a so-called “Christian” mysticism, which has now slithered into evangelicalism under the guise of spurious Spiritual Formation. Earlier in Henri Nouwen Helped By “Meditation” I explained that one teacher of so-called “Christian” meditation who is quoted by nearly everyone teaching CSM, specifically for his wisdom concerning a form of transcendental meditation in an altered state of consciousness known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) aka “silence and solitude,” is Henri Nouwen. Sure enough in CYD Nouwen tells us, “Silence [i.e. meditation] is the discipline that helps us…let our sorrows and joys emerge from their hidden place.”[1]

Nouwen goes on spinning his mystic myth:

We may find silence in nature, in our houses, in a church or a mediation hall… At first silence might only frighten us. In silence we start hearing the voices of darkness:… But if have the discipline to and not let let these dark voices intimidate us, they will gradually lose their strength and recede…[2]

What Nouwen is describing above is what mystics who practice transcendental meditation call “the dark night of the soul”; but having once had a similar experience when I tried practicing meditation many years ago, before I was a Christian, I’ll tell you this is God’s warning system to stop this mind-numbing practice. Nouwen has it backward; God is the One attempting to disturb us out of the practice, and what Nouwen thinks was “God” after the inner turmoil receded is actually God giving one over to this deception. I will be eternally grateful that, during the experience I told you about, I “decended” down inside myself until I came to what appeared to be a dark and smoky curtain. I then became very scared and sensed that if I went through that smoky curtain something very bad awaited me there. The Lord be praised, that was the last time I attempted that foolish practice.

So, I learned about this dark night, God’s loving rebuke, firsthand; and yet this book, which can be purchased at Saddleback, has helped shape the life of Kay Warren? We wonder, was Rick Warren sharing “wisdom” gleaned from meditating with Kay today? For you see, among the other books—also available at Saddleback—shaping Kay’s life are others by teachers of contemplative spirituality; for example:

(Online source)

François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon aka Fenelon was a mystic and New Avent, the online Roman Catholic encyclopedia, informs us he was a staunch Roman Catholic who was:

A celebrated French bishop… Fénelon was grounded not only in the practice of piety and priestly virtue, but above all in solid [Roman] Catholic doctrine,… In 1678 Harlay de Champvallon, Archbishop of Paris, entrusted Fénelon with the direction of the house of “Nouvelles-Catholiques”, a community founded in 1634 by Archbishop Jean-François de Gondi for Protestant young women about to enter the Church or converts who needed to be strengthened in the [Roman Catholic] Faith.

It was a new and delicate form of apostolate which thus offered itself to Fénelon’s zeal and required all the resources of his theological knowledge, persuasive eloquence, and magnetic personality. Within late years his conduct has been severely criticized, and he has been even called intolerant but these charges are without serious foundation and have not been accepted even by the Protestant authors of the “Encyclopédie des Sciences Religieuses“; their verdict on Fénelon is that in justice to him it must be said that in making converts [to Roman Catholicism] he ever employed persuasion rather than severity”.

When Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, by which Henry IV had granted freedom of public worship to the Protestants, missionaries were chosen from among the greatest orators of the day, e.g. Bourdaloue, Fléchier, and others, and were sent to those parts of France where heretics were most numerous, to labour for their conversion. At the suggestion of his friend Bossuet, Fénelon was sent with five companions to Santonge, where he manifested great zeal,… (Online source)

In closing this, for now, as you can plainly see—from a Roman Catholic source—Fenelon obviously had much theological knowledge concerning apostate Roman Catholicism; and further, Fenelon was also greatly zealous in his labor for “the conversion” of those Protestant “heretics” back into the Roman Catholic Church. Remind me again why, as a former Roman Catholic, I would want to follow the teaching, and practice the mysticism, whose fruit would cause Fenelon to die faithfully serving the Roman Catholic Church that has placed its—never changed—anathema upon the very Gospel of Jesus Christ…


End notes:

[1] Henri Nouwen, Can You Drink the Cup? [Notre Dame: Ava Maria Press, 1996], 94.

[2] Ibid., 95.

See also: