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Archive for the ‘arts in worship’ Category

The former member of a very popular Christian music group wastes no time opening her talk at her church with quotes from Richard Rohr (Franciscan priest of contemplative mystic theology who has taught the equality of Buddha with Christ and the indwelling of God in all things[1]) and Madeleine L’Engle (believed in universal salvation[2]) and Aldous Huxley (humanist whose spiritual interests were parapsychology mysticism and universalism [3]).

In the voice of an angel, with appealing words and songs with perfect pitch and harmony, she tells her story. Initially saved by an invitation to escape hell, the lovely singer with a voice of honey has changed her narrow misconceptions for untruths. It happened after disappointments, trials and sorrows coupled with doubts, that she started reading books. She read Brian McLaren (false teacher[4] who will be visiting her church), Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton (contemplative mystic/panentheist[5]) and Phyllis Tickle (has false views about the Bible, the gospel, nature of God and the Trinity[6] who will also be visiting her church). After accepting their words as truth, this lovely musician concluded that fear based approach to spirituality doesn’t work, and that the most devastating fear is the fear of God. Now, she says, everything belongs (Rohr), and love always wins (Bell). Freed from fear, she is now an open and inclusive pastor and mom who leads worship. The songs of comfort they will be singing from now are centered on how we belong and how we are beloved. The theme of the old hymn Amazing Grace is to be pitied, because we are not wretches. The core of who we are is not unworthiness. Those are old fearful concepts.

But fear not, this changed worship leader has written a lovely new song based on a quote by Julian of Norwich, a universalist and mystic[7] who engaged in meditation to identify with Christ’s suffering, praying and striving to experience fear and bodily pain to achieve union with Christ in many visions. The following Julian of Norwich quote is not quite as pleasant as the one which the new worship song is based on.

“In this sickness I wanted to have every kind of pain, bodily an spiritual, which I should have if I were dying, every fear and assault from devils and every other kind of pain except the departure of the spirit, for I hoped that this would be profitable to me when I should die, because I desired soon to be with my God” -Julian of Norwich, pg 24, Julian of Norwich’s “Showings”: From Vision to Book by Denise Nowakowski Baker [8]

The choice of this fear craving mystic seems somewhat ironic, especially after this worship leader has just insisted that fear based approach to spirituality doesn’t work.[9]

Wrapping up her lulling talk, the pastoress of worship finishes with a prayerful assurance that Jesus told great stories, but it is our stories of our journeys that make God’s grand story.

Watch the half hour sermonette here:

IF: Gathering Leader/Pastor Melissa Greene—A Female Version of McLaren, Bell, Rohr, and Merton
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17015

Why should this presentation be a concern to North American Christians? Recently, this pastoress has also been given a far reaching platform at other events. Please consider the following questions:

Is this the voice of truth?
What muddy streams of spirituality lurk beneath the perfect pitch and crystal clear harmony of this message?
Who is being influenced by, and accepting, this nice sounding message?
Isn’t universalism and inclusiveness at odds with the Bible?
Can Satan use beautiful things (people, music, words) to draw people into deception?
Is this part of the greater plan of the emerging church network’s agenda for the new kind of inclusive gospel-free spirituality to invade Christianity?
If so, aren’t all those involved in this muddy message… deceivers?

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
2 Cor. 11: 13-15

Endnotes:

[1] http://apprising.org/2008/05/10/who-is-richard-rohr/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_L’Engle
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley
[4] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/brianmclaren.htm
[5] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/merton.htm
[6] http://rootedinchrist.org/2010/11/30/the-great-emergence-or-a-great-deception/
http://thebereanlibrary.com/archives/category/phyllis-tickle-2
[7] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/julianofnorwich.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_of_Norwich
[8] https://books.google.ca/books?id=ZEcABAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
[9] For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Cor. 14:33

Related:

Was Satan in charge of music in Heaven?
http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-music.html

Was Lucifer originally an angel of worship?
https://carm.org/questions/about-demons/was-lucifer-originally-angel-worship

***NEW: (MAY 8, 2015)

Melissa Greene
Melissa Greene is the pastor of worship and arts at GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee. The church made national headlines in January of 2015 as senior pastor, Stan Mitchell, declared his church now accepts homosexual marriage.12
When I pull up Greene’s website, I immediately notice the picture of her sitting in a Yoga position. In a May 25th, 2014 message on her website titled “Worth,” Greene admits to reading emerging church pioneer Brian McLaren’s book, A Generous Orthodoxy (and McLaren spoke at GracePointe in the fall of 2014). Greene favorably quotes other prolific New Spirituality names: Phyllis Tickle, Richard Rohr, Frederick Buechner, Rob Bell, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Thomas Merton, Peter Gomes, Aldous Huxley—a list that reads like a veritable who’s who in emergent and contemplative heresy.
In “Worth,” Greene declares that, “Christianity is broad and diverse.”13 Considering that many of her influences accept all religions as being of God, there is no doubt to what she means when she states this. Greene also made the audacious statement: “The most devastating fear in people’s lives is the fear of God.”14 She attempts to validate her statement by taking verses out of context and misapplying them.

SOURCE: IF it is of God—Answering the questions of IF:Gathering
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17334

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In September of 2013, Prairie Bible college announced that well known worship leader Brian Doerksen would be joining the Prairie faculty as the new Director of Music & Worship Arts. The program, which focuses on songwriting and worship within the church, was to start this fall with a small enrollment limit of 12 students.
 Earlier this year, in February 2014, 55 attended Doerksen’s one week class on “Emotionally Healthy Worship.”[1] The reason for the title of this class is that Brian Doerksen has been combining his music with what he has learned from the contemplative author and pastor Peter Scazzero.

Scazzero is known for his Emotionally Healthy Spirituality resources which are based on practicing the Daily Office of St. Benedict, silence and centering prayer. These Scazzero learned while spending time at monasteries, chanting the set hours of prayer with Trappist monks.

Centering: Scripture commands us to “be still before the lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7). We are called to move into God’s presence and rest there. That alone is no small feat. For this reason I often spend two to 20 minutes centering myself so that I can let go of my tensions, distractions and sensations, and rest in the love of God.
When you find your mind wandering, let your breathing bring you back. As you breathe in, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. As you breathe out, exhale all that is sinful, false and not of Him. . .
Silence: Dallas Willard has called silence and solitude the two most radical disciplines of the Christian life. Solitude is the practice of being absent from people and things to attend to God. Silence is the practice of quieting every inner and outer voice to attend to God. Henri Nouwen wrote, “without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.” – Peter Scazzero[2]

In May of this year Brian Doerksen, pioneer of integrating Scazzero’s EHS theology and practice into worship music, joined Peter Scazzero for a conference. There he not only led worship but also offered an Emotionally Healthy Songwriting Workshop.[3]

Watch Doerksen’s promotion of this event…

Next year Brian Doerksen will be the key speaker at the Levite Summit (March 6-7, 2015) at Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, BC. Last year’s speakers at this event were Carolyn Arends and Erwin McManus.[4]

The Levite Summit is also advertised and promoted on the Canadian Pacific District Christian & Missionary Alliance website[5], where we read:

KEYNOTES
We are excited to announce Brian Doerksen as our 2015 keynote speaker. Brian is an award-winning singer/songwriter, recording artist, author, conference speaker and pastor. Brian’s band, the Shiyr Poets will also be leading worship!
GENERAL SESSIONS
There are aspects of arts and faith that affect every one of us, and these sessions will raise interesting discussions and allow for a deeper look at the arts, worship and Christian thought and leadership as well as sessions on conflict resolution, prayer, spiritual health / burnout and more.

Will Doerksen’s worship blend be leading the Levite Summit attendees into a deeper look at Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality? If so, this is not the first time that the C&MA has promoted Peter Scazzero’s teachings[6]. This is also not the first time that the contemplative influence on Doerksen’s direction has been a concern, as his favourite reading list (on his website) includes contemplative authors Mark Buchanan (The rest of God, Spiritual Rhythm), Eugene Petersen and 
Henri Nouwen.[7]

Unfortunately, Brian Doerksen is not the only Christian musician who may be leading their fans and listeners across the ecumenical bridge of contemplative unhealthy spirituality[8].

__________

[1] Brian Doerksen in concert
http://www.threehillscapital.com/index.php/community-events/community-events/4295-brian-doerksen-in-concert
See also:
Creating Emotionally Healthy Worship Music with Brian Doerksen
Feb 24 – 28, 2014 @ Prairie Campus, Three Hills, Alberta
http://www.prairie.edu/bdcourse
[2] The Power of Being Still (and Silent) Before God
http://blog.exponential.org/2012/12/an-ancient-discipline-for-surviving-the-storms-of-church-planting/
[3] EHL Conference 2014 and The Emotionally Healthy Leader
http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/ehl-conference-2014-and-the-emotionally-healthy-leader/
[4] http://levitesummit.com/summit-2014/
[5] http://pacificdistrict.ca/levite-summit/
[6] Peter Scazzero’s Contemplative Bridge Crossing to Canada
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/peter-scazzeros-contemplative-bridge-coming-to-canada/
Scazzeros Spread Contemplative Spirituality at C&MA Conference
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/scazzeros-spread-contemplative-spirituality-at-cma-conference/
[7] briandoerksen.com
[8] For example, Gungor denies the Genesis creation account, Steve Bell has toured the speaking circuit with Brian McLaren:
God our Mother?
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/god-our-mother/
McLaren’s Refreshing Winds at CMU – Part 4
http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/mclarens-refreshing-winds-at-cmu-part-4/

_____

UPDATE:

COLLEGE ALERT: Letters to Lighthouse Trails Prove Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta) Has Gone Emergent
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17318

_____

Continued (Part 2). . .

Brian Doerksen’s Progression

In MAY 15, 2008 Brian Doerksen said:

“…I know of the Iona community…. When we went through the collapse of the musical The Father’s House in 1996, I was so broken and confused. I found myself being incredibly drawn to the liturgical, contemplative expressions of spirituality, both in prayer and in music, the Taize, and I actually wanted to make a little bit of a shift in that direction. I just loved the thought of being in the midst of things that were more ancient, that weren’t so contemporary. I started to go that way, and the Lord made it abundantly clear to me, both in my own heart and through my wife and some very good friends, that that wasn’t the path he had for me. The Lord made it very clear to me at that point, “I’ve called you into a more contemporary expression, but I want you to bring what you see as the timeless God truth into that.” I have an immense respect for Cathy Hardy, who’s a musician in Mission, B.C. and does the local Taize services. She’s got an album out of Taize music. It deeply moves me and personally renews me, but it’s not what God has called me to do. So I can cheer them on from the sidelines: “That’s fantastic. Go for it.” I think we need people who find fresh ways of expressing God’s truth in every musical style. We need diversity. I say that still believing what I said before that at the core we need folk songs, songs that people can participate in. My brother is an Anglican priest in Moose Jaw, and he loves that world. I love visiting that world, and I can see so much good in it. It’s just not where God has called me to live.
-Songs of Lament: An interview with Brian Doerksen (Part 2)
http://canadianchristianity.com/songs-lament-interview-brian-doerksen-part-2-3424/

Three years later, Doerksen shared. . .

“My reflections on 2 ½ days attending the ‘Faith & Culture’ Conference (amazingly it was more like a conversation) in Colorado with Dr. Miroslav Volf[1]; hosted by Brian Zahnd at the St Malo Retreat Catholic Retreat Center. (Aug 29 – 31, 2011)
…Brian(Zahnd)[2] hosted most of the sessions (along with some help from Brad Jersak, a wonderful thinker and former pastor also from Abbotsford, and a pastor from Denver; Joe Beach) by setting the stage and then doing an interview with Miroslav at the end of his teaching presentation before opening it up to questions from the group of 50 people or so present.”

– Thick truth in thin air, September 23, 2011
(briandoerksen.com/blog/thick-truth-in-thin-air)

—–

[1] Prof. Volf was the lead author of the Christian response to “A Common Word Between Us and You,” the historic open letter signed by 138 Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals, released in October 2007, which identified some core common ground at the heart of the Christian and Muslim faiths (the complete text can be found online at http://www.acommonword.com).
Source: http://faith.yale.edu/people/miroslav-volf

[2]UPDATED 2015: Brian Zahnd has written the foreword in Brad Jersak’s latest book called A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel, published by Plain Truth Ministries (www.ptm.org), where Jersak is a senior editor of their CWR blog (Christianity Without Religion). The recommended reading on the Plain Truth Ministries website speaks volumes (www.ptm.org/quad/bookList.htm). Jersak’s book is reviewed and endorsed by Derek Flood, Richard Rohr, William Paul Young, Brian McLaren, Eugene Peterson.

___

RELATED:

CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC PIONEER DON FRANCISCO DEPARTS FROM BIBLICAL INERRANCY
http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/07/contemporary-christian-music-pioneer-don-francisco-departs-from-biblical-inerrancy/

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Something to chew on . . .

Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian?

There is a great misunderstanding in churches of the purpose of music in Christian worship. Churches routinely advertise their “life-changing” or “dynamic” worship that will “bring you closer to God” or “change your life.” Certain worship CD’s promise that the music will “enable you to enter the presence of God.”

Read this thought provoking article here:

http://www.christianity.com/church/worship-and-hymns/is-your-church-worship-more-pagan-than-christian.html

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But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Jeremiah 7:24

Erwin McManus at Biola Media Event: The Church Will Become the Epicenter of Imagination

STUDIO CITY, Calif. – Pastor and author Erwin McManus, founder of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, told hundreds of current and aspiring entertainment industry professionals that God’s gift of imagination is license to create at the highest level during the keynote session at the Biola Media Conference Saturday.
“I am so convinced that part of the artistic process, part of the power of being a storyteller is to resonate with the voice that calls humanity back to the God who always calls us to Him, to silence all the voices that tell us what we lack,” said McManus. “I don’t want us to spend our lives worrying about all the stories that others are telling about us.”
In his recently released book, The Artisan Soul, McManus pens “a manifesto for human creativity and the beginning of a new renaissance.” During his talk at the conference and in his book, he “not only calls us to reclaim our creative essence, but reveals how we can craft our lives into a work of art.” It is evident that he celebrates the spiritual process that can help people discover their true selves. McManus demonstrates that “we all carry within us the essence of an artist.”

More here:
http://www.christianpost.com/news/erwin-mcmanus-at-biola-media-event-the-church-will-become-the-epicenter-of-imagination-119174/

Even though his goal is to unabashedly “destroy Christianity”[1], many Christian organizations have promoted Erwin McManus, including Rick Warren, Focus on the Family, Willow Creek[2], and Power to Change[3], originally known as Campus Crusade for Christ (founded by Bill Bright)[4].

Notes:

1] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/erwinmcmanus.htm
2] http://news.willowcreek.org/2013/06/willow-creek-welcomes-erwin-mcmanus-to-midweek-experience/
3] http://store.powertochange.org/c-3-soul-cravings.aspx
http://powertochange.com/crave/
http://powertochange.com/itv/spirituality/crave-the-documentary/
4] http://powertochange.com/organization/about/

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Two years ago at Camp Squeah, Christian youth learned to walk the labyrinth (see
Did these Young Mennonites Walk the Labyrinth?).

This year at Camp Squeah, it was a yoga retreat.

Exploring mind, body and soul connections
Yoga retreat brings spiritual insights

By Amy Dueckman
B.C. Correspondent
HOPE, B.C.

Determination to exercise more, or to improve one’s spiritual life, are on many people’s lists as they begin a new year. Thirty people who met at Camp Squeah from Jan. 11 to 13 found a way to do both through a retreat with the theme of “Breath of God” and the practice of yoga from a Christian perspective.
Angelika Dawson of Abbotsford, B.C., who spearheaded the retreat, had taken up yoga at her local recreation centre over a year ago, to increase her physical flexibility and strength. She loved the meditation and breathing exercises, but wasn’t always comfortable with the secular direction of imagining peace and light, or the distracting music…

Read more here:

http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/exploring-mind-body-and-soul-connections

Camp Squeah is owned by the Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is a children’s summer camp, retreat centre and outdoor education facility. Here is the their promotion of the recent yoga retreat:

Breath of God – Yoga from a Christian Perspective
January 11-13, 2013

This is a retreat for those seeking to deepen the contemplative dimension of their spiritual life through the practice of yoga and meditation in the Christian tradition. Gentle yoga stretching, yoga poses and breathing exercises are introduced not only as a path for relaxation, rejuvenation and stress reduction but also as a way to open the heart and body to a healing encounter with the transforming spirit of Christ within.

Ingrid Hauss, is a certified yoga teacher in Hatha Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, and Pilates and a spiritual director with a diploma in Spiritual direction from the Pacific Jubilee Program. Her academic background in art and music and her own Christian spiritual practice and love for scripture and texts by Christian mystical writers infuse her teaching…
http://www.squeah.com/Yoga-Retreat.html

Participants were strongly encouraged to bring their own yoga mats and/or yoga cushions as well as their Bibles. The retreat led by Hauss was open to all levels of yoga practitioners from beginner to seasoned. On Camp Squeah’s website we read that after Hauss became “a seeker of a way in which yoga could integrate into …life and Christian spirituality”, she studied a book on yoga and meditation as Christian disciplines called Prayer of the Heart and Body with Paulist priest and Yoga Teacher, Tom Ryan. She then learned to integrate dance and yoga before deepening her yoga training at Kripalu Yoga Center for Yoga and Health (USA). Soon she was teaching body prayer at churches and retreats, and studying with other yoga masters.

However, can yoga really be integrated into Christian spirituality?

“Christianity cannot be integrated with yoga and remain Christian. To think otherwise imperils the Christian truth and faith. As the managing editor of ‘Hinduism Today,’ Sannyasin Arumugaswami, remarks, ‘Hinduism is the soul of yoga ‘based as it is on Hindu Scripture and developed by Hindu sages. Yoga opens up new and more refined states of mind, and to understand them one needs to believe in and understand the Hindu way of looking at God. . . . A Christian trying to adapt these practices will likely disrupt their own Christian beliefs’.’ East is east, and west is west, and if Christianity is to remain Christian, ‘the twain’ should never be married. – Pastor Larry De Bruyn

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/yoga.htm

Therefore…

The question becomes, is it possible for a Christian to isolate the physical aspects of yoga as simply a method of exercise, without incorporating the spirituality or philosophy behind it? Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that philosophy has not changed. It teaches one to focus on oneself instead of on the one true God. It encourages its participants to seek the answers to life’s difficult questions within their own conscience instead of in the Word of God. It also leaves one open to deception from God’s enemy, who searches for victims that he can turn away from God (1 Peter 5:8).

Read more @ What is the Christian view of yoga?
http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-yoga.html

Are the supporters of Camp Squeah aware that this Christian camp appears to be leading Christians into the muddy waters of interspiritual practices?

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 1 Cor. 10:21

Please watch:

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About two months from now another muddy mixture of truth and error will be taking place in Edmonton, Alberta at Break Forth Canada 2013. Speakers include Francis Chan, Kay Arthur, John Ortberg, Mark Buchanan, Brad Jersak, Leonard Sweet, and Gary Thomas.

Many of these speakers teach a muddy mix of truth and contemplative spirituality. For example, John Ortberg, the author of the Monvee book, The Me I Want to Be, is a key player in the contemplative spirituality movement. He has been strongly influenced by the spirituality endorsed by contemplative mystics (see review of The Life You’ve Always Wanted). Canadian pastor Mark Buchanan has written several contemplative books as well as the foreword to Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way By Stephen A. Macchia (a contemporary approach to St. Benedict’s Rule endorsed by many well known contemplative authors). Although Buchanan does claim to use biblical spiritual discipline sources it is a concern when he also quotes Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, Philip Yancey, upholds Mother Theresa and portrays Richard Foster as an expert on spiritual disciplines. Brad Jersak, another Canadian author, teaches a combination of visualization and listening prayer (see previous posts SHOULD CHRISTIANS EXPECT TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE? and Visualizing ourselves into the Throne Room of Heaven?). This will not be the first Breakforth Canada appearance for Jersak, as with speakers Gary Thomas and Leonard Sweet (see The Berean Library’s page on Sweet’s books).

May the truth of God’s Word speak loudly, breaking the bridge of compromise and clearly separating the purity of the gospel from the spiritual deception which has already clouded the hearts and minds of so many believers today.

RELATED:

BREAKFORTH CANADA 2010:

More Questions About Break Forth Canada
http://gaminc.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/more-questions-about-break-forth-canada/

The Break Forth Canada Conference
http://www.worldofprophecy.com/smf/index.php?topic=7950.0

BREAKFORTH CANADA 2012:

Today at Breakforth Canada
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/today-at-breakforth-canada/

BREAKFORTH CANADA 2013:

Break Forth Canada 2013 lineup includes adulteress Amy Grant and ex-husband (and adulterer) Gary Chapman
http://suspiciousberean.blogspot.ca/2012/09/break-forth-canada-2013-lineup-includes.html

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This is the new kind of pastor…

“Her big name is not making her rich. She pulls in roughly what a teacher or social worker earns.

Bolz-Weber sums up her own small mission church as “a group of folks figuring out how to be liturgical, Christo-centric, social-justice oriented, queer inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent, ancient-future church with a progressive but deeply rooted theological imagination.”

Bolz-Weber makes it seem reasonable and fun to be simultaneously traditional and innovative, ancient and postmodern, devout and irreverent, brash and humble, flip and profound, and so on.”

Read more about Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber here:

Denver pastor turns heads by blending tradition and irreverence
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/6e1954bd430d42deaa989d68a4577c2e/CO–Irreverent-Pastor/

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