As we get set to close out this year and brace ourselves for what appears to be a tsunami of apostasy headed toward the mainstream of the visible church Apprising Ministries says a heartfelt thank you to those who’ve been supporting us in prayer and financially.

We are grateful for these fellow soldiers willing to sacrifice along with us so that AM can stand as a lighthouse of information to help guide the many who are without good local churches or who have to stand for truth within fading fellowships now being covered with this growing spiritual darkness.

Another way AM stays on the cutting edge of these troubling spiritual seas is with the assist from readers sending in tips concerning issues that are popping up to the surface now like spiritual icebergs. For example, the following from the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB), which is the arm of the Southern Baptist Convention for affiliated local churches in Mississippi.

I’ve been monitoring Intel along the Internet Front for years now so I can tell you that a major factor contributing to the rapidly growing apostasy within spiritually spineless evanjellyfish is the spread of Counter Reformation spirituality through Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) ala gurus Dallas Willard and his spiritual twin Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.

You need to realize that it’s even slithered deeply into the weakened heart of the evangelical community as you can see e.g. in Moody Publishers Publishes Book On Contemplative/Centering Prayer. Because it’s my job, here I’ll tell you again that CSM is not a neutral practice; and know this, my research shows that once someone begins dabbling in this they almost immediately begin to drift away from proper Biblical doctrine.

It is possible to dance in a minefield, but it doesn’t make it a good idea. Sure, to paraphrase Phil Johnson, you can rummage through the garbage and find enough edible scraps to make up a meal; but I’d rather eat one made with fresh food. The church visible is now suffering much from the libertine legacy of the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult operating within the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church with its postmodern obfuscation.

What seems to have been forgotten, because of the relentless bombardment of EC Humpty Dumpty language, is Jesus tells us to be on our guard against the leaven of false teachers:

Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?”

“Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6-12)

Don’t kid yourself; the current sorry state of the witness of the Christian faith demonstrates with crystalline clarity that we’re just as dense as those disciples. That aside, note again that Jesus said we are to beware of the leaven of false teaching; He didn’t say be the ones who actually add it in to our doctrine. Yet here’s another example of such in the Slowly Becoming Catholic as we turn to the SBC website for the MBCB and the below:

(Online source)

As we click in there under Resources – Personal & Corporate Prayer we find the following concerning a Romish and Emerging Church practice of “prayer stations” in Virtual PrayerWalking:

(Online source)

MBCB has redefined the term but for those involved with CSM the term “prayer walk” is often referring to the mild maze of the labyrinth, which has no place in the historic orthodox Christian faith. In What is labyrinth prayer walking? the research team at Herescope tells us:

occultic roots and definitions of new-fangled words…have risen to popularity in evangelicaldom. . . . Labyrinths as a form of prayer walking are rapidly increasing in popularity as a personal way to gain more spirituality. Several examples can be found at:

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a labyrinth is “a structure containing an intricate network of winding passages hard to follow without losing one’s way; maze.” In Greek mythology “such a structure built by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete, to house the Minotaur,” a half-bull, half-man creature which was annually fed “seven youths and seven maidens from Athens.” A labyrinth is synonymous with something complicated, perplexing in arrangement, puzzling, intricate, and difficult to follow.

According to the occult reference The Seeker’s Handbook, the etymology of the word “labyrinth” has to do with “labor, birth, or rebirth. At sacred sites, such as Chartres, Glastonbury, and Knossos on Crete, a maze constructed of earthwalls, ruts, tiles, or underground windings, believed to have been used in initiations . . . .” (Online source)

Actually I first heard of this kind of thing when I was attending a hyper-Pentecostal Word Faith church early in my walk with Jesus. In fact, it has to do with a whacked view of spiritual warfare and supposedly claiming territory back from demons. My last time there the entire congregation was stomping around the church grounds claiming the church building for Jesus and decreeing new carpet for it.

Well, the only claiming and decreeing I did as I left that fellowship was to tell the Lord I was sorry that apparently I just don’t get it. You may find it interesting that later when I planted a mission church in that town, unbeknownst to me, the mother church overseeing the plant actually decided to put it in that very building. Apparently this was another example of the Lord’s sense of humor.

Be that as it may, notice that point number 5 above is very Henry Blackerby-esque in that one is expected to believe they’ll receive highly subjective direct revelation from the Lord during their time in the prayer walking prayer stations: Report back what God has said. Again, the SBC is reputed to discourage this kind of quasi-charismania; but based upon this we have more reason to say it’s actually the opposite.

Now we turn to something even more troubling for an outlet of the SBC, which is supposed to be the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. This would be the MBCB Annotated Bibliography on prayer. In closing this, for now, I’m only going to draw your attention to the largest leaven in this particular SBC lump. First there’s the late Roman Catholic monk and mystic Henri Nouwen:

The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life, Nouwen, Henri (2008)A collection of writings and short essays on prayer and public life. Themes include desire, solitude, listening, community, forgiveness, death, and eternal life. (Online source)

Really? Southern Baptists need to turn to a man who died a slave to the false gospel of the long apostate Roman Catholic Church and was a leading teacher of spurious CSM to learn about eternal life? For the benefit of whomever wrote this, solitude, listening, and even prayer also refers to the crown jewel of CSM; a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness commonly known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).

MBCB is not alone as the only Southern Baptists pointing us to Henri Nouwen as you can see in Setting Kay Warren Straight About Roman Catholic Mystic Henri Nouwen. But why would MBCB recommend that we learn the spirituality of Henri Nouwen; whose own devotion to CSM led him to deny the doctrine of original sin and convinced him that God already dwells within all of mankind:

Still, when we remain faithful to our discipline [of Contemplative/Centering Prayer], even if it is only ten minutes a day, we gradually come to see — by the candlelight of our prayers — that there is a space within us where God dwells and where we are invited to dwell with God…

One of the discoveries we make in [meditative] prayer is that the closer we come to God, the closer we come to all our brothers and sisters in the human family. God is not a private God. The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being.[1]

Because Nouwen fully believed this mythology of classic mysticism, we’re not surprised he’d follow it to its logical conclusion; the delusion of 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.[2]

Its asinine for Southern Baptists to encourage people to add this leaven of Henri Nouwen into their doctrine. Then there’s the very next entry in the MBCB Annotated Bibliography on prayer:

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster, Richard (2002) A comprehensive introduction to, and survey of, the practice and experience of prayer for Christian life. Foster’s writing draws from many different traditions and experiences. Topics include: covenant prayer, meditative prayer, contemplative prayer, healing prayer, intercessory prayer, and radical prayer. Also includes scripture and subject index. (Online source)

Again, MBCB is not alone as Southern Baptists recommending the deceptive teachings of Quaker mystic Richard Foster as you can see in John Piper, Rick Warren & Foster-Willardism. From my years of studying Foster’s CSM mythology I can tell you that his musings absolutely do draw “from many different traditions and experiences.” Indeed it does; and you need to know that this even includes apostates and pagan religions.

However, the truth is, Contemplative/Centering Prayer—incontrovertibly mediation in an altered form of consciousness—has never been a part of the Biblical Christianity recovered during the Lord’s Protestant Reformation; because it is antithetical to the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura. Consider the below from Foster’s latest book:

As we experience the unifying grace of recollection and the liberating grace of beholding the Lord, we are ushered into a third step in meditative prayer, the prayer of listening… When we come to the prayer of listening, we put away all obstacles of the heart, all scheming of the mind, all vacillations of the will.

There is a hushing of all “outward and earthy affection,” as Fenelon reminds us. A graphic phrase from St. John of the Cross, “My house being now all stilled,” instructs us in the quieting of all physical and emotional senses. The experiences of recollection and beholding the Lord have done their work.[3]

Notice that Richard Foster, as a mystic Quaker, refers to two other apostate (at best) mystics concerning meditation. Just last year in Kay Warren, Henri Nouwen, And Contemplative Spirituality I explained to you that François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon (1651-1715) aka Fenelon was a mystic and a very devout Roman Catholic bishop from France. He was especially known for his catechizing people into Roman Catholicism.

As far as John of the Cross (1542-1591), the fact is he was a major player in the Counter Reformation of the Church of Rome and, along with messed up mystic nun Teresa of Avila, founded “the Discalced Carmelites, [and was] doctor of mystic theology”[4] of the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus has already said of false teachers — “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16) and He then told us:

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24)

In the case of CSM and its CCP, which is the spurious spirituality of Rome’s corrupt Counter Reformation, stop judging it by its apparent piety and judge it by the right judgement of Holy Scripture as did God’s Reformers when they rejected it (cf. Acts 17:11). It’s well past time to recognize the rancid fruit and sinful ecumenicism of this CSM; e.g. consider CSM guru Richard Foster, a key mentor of the Emerging Church with Dallas Willard.

This warped and toxic neo-Gnostic serpentine spirituality, which slithered out from Rome, was core doctrine of the EC from its hatching in hell circa 1997. Its practice has produced the fruit of a more clearly delineated postmodern Progressive Christian theology—a Liberalism 2.0—that the EC often refers to as “big tent” Emergence Christianity; in other words, the Love Wins mythology of former EC rock star pastor Rob Bell.

This all is also a huge part of what Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, one of the unholy EC trinity of apostates along with universalist EC pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Dr. Tony Jones—the progressive “theologian in residence” at Pagitt’s Emergent Solomon’s Porch—began laying out systematically in his book A New Kind of Christianity. All of these ravenous wolves are dedicated practitioners of this CSM.

Finally, stop and think about this: Richard Foster’s Christian doctrine is so compromised that he’s listed as one of the great teachers of spirituality as part of the interspiritual Living Spiritual Teachers Project right alongside false religious teachers like Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, Brian McLaren, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson. I wonder, how long before the SBC also recommends such as these?

End notes:

[1] Henri Nouwen, Here And Now [New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1994], 24, 25, emphasis mine.

[2] Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey [New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1998], 51, emphasis mine.

[3] Richard J. Foster. Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer (Renovare Resources Renovare Resources) (Kindle Locations 532, 537-539). Kindle Edition.

[4], accessed 12/27/11.

See also: