Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

What does the spiritual bridge from east to west have to do with anti-Israel resolutions and same sex resolutions in the Mennonite Church USA denomination?

Ruth Haley Barton, founder of The Transforming Centre[1], was trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation which teaches: “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality … It is no accident that the most active frontier between Christian and Eastern religions today is between contemplative Christian monks and their Eastern equivalents.” —Tilden Edwards, Shalem Founder[2]

Barton, who could not find peace or direction in her Baptist roots or through reading the Bible and praying, found fulfillment through spiritual direction. Now she incorporates a blend of Eastern and Roman Catholic contemplative spirituality and monastic practices in her retreats and books on practicing the presence of God in the silence and sacred rhythms of prayer. Lately she has been very instrumental in leading entire Protestant and Anabaptist church congregations and their leaders into these same practices through spiritual direction and discernment seminars. . .

More here:

Mennonites Walk Barton’s Bridge (to Rome and beyond)


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Who would have thought that the emerging church mixed with the contemplative spiritual element would converge with the anti-Israel campaign?

In the light of all that is going on in the world, what perilous times we are in as we see what is being said and done in the name of Christ to support those who oppose Israel.

“There are many reasons why the upcoming Friends of Sabeel conference in Canada requires a word of caution. Originally scheduled for this October, it has been postponed till next spring. . .
. . . the voices representing Christianity at these Friends of Sabeel conferences appear to be on the same page and claim to have the ‘true’ teaching. However, they are not on the ‘literal’ Bible page. Many of them seem to be opposed to the truth taught in scripture about Israel and may be presenting their own interpretations. These are views held by emerging church leaders, as well as by those who are part of the anti-Israel campaign. Also interesting is how the element of contemplative spirituality is going to be strongly represented at this conference.”

Read more here:

Canadian Friends of Sabeel or Enemies of Israel?

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In a Letter to the Editor: Saddened by Christian & Missionary Alliance and Ambrose University Continuing Plunge into Contemplative at the Lighthouse Blog, we read that there are more winds of doctrine blowing through the Canadian Christian & Missionary Alliance doors. One of the concerns mentioned in the letter is in regards to a former teacher once let go for theological differences who appears to be apologetically welcomed back to working with the C&MA denomination. Have black and white issues that were once doctrinally weighed and defended by the Word of God become such a muddy blend that they are now okay?

The person who the C&MA is now looking forward to working with again is Charles W. Nienkirchen, Professor of Christian History and Spirituality at Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta. His bio (here) says that Neinkirchen has also been a Scholar in Residence at Tantur Ecumenical Institute(tantur.org) in Jerusalem, also known as the Catholic Church of The Holy Land (catholicchurch-holyland.com/?p=789). He’s also been a Visiting Professor in Residence at another ecumenical seminary called Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary in South India. Therefore it is no surprise that his teaching and ministry focuses on the subject of renewal and spirituality through ecumenical retreat courses and conferences.

In 2006 Nienkirchen designed a travel study program called ‘Down Ancient Paths’ Travel Study Program (www.downancientpaths.com) which explores the oldest Christian traditions in the world. According to Tyndale, here, Nienkirchen’s areas of specialization are “classical spiritual disciplines, dreams, spiritual direction, renewal movements, ancient Christian traditions, and Christian-Muslim relations.” During his exploration in ecumenicalism and spirituality, Nienkirchen has also attended a School for Spiritual Directors at a Benedictine Abbey to learn more about prayer and spiritual renewal, and now serves on the Faculty of the Pecos Benedictine School for Spiritual Directors near Santa Fe, New Mexico (www.pecosmonastery.org).

Nienkirchen was also a signator on a document by the late Robert Webber called The Call (www.ancientfutureworship.com/afw_wkshps.html), a movement that embraces Ancient-Future worship style and practices based on ecumenism and unity with other faiths. (You can read quite a bit about this here: exnazarene.wordpress.com/2009/03/)

This has all begun to bear fruit which we are now seeing in the C&MA, as revealed last spring when students at their university (Ambrose) were taught to listen to God, contemplative style:

April 24, 2013 | Last fall during the annual Fall Spiritual Emphasis Days, students at Ambrose University College of the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Calgary, Alberta (Canada), were taught contemplative spirituality with the theme of Listening to God. Ambrose alumnus Steve Kerr, pastor of Gateway Church in Caledonia, Ontario (a C&MA church) taught sessions about Listening to God. Other contemplative workshops were facilitated by Ambrose staff and faculty. Students were invited to participate in a diverse array of workshops, like “Centering Prayer: A Pathway to Experiencing God’s Presence,” taught by Dr. Miriam Charter. Students learned that “Centering Prayer is a gift to us from the Desert Fathers who sought a way to deepen their relationship with the living Christ. It is “listening” prayer that may become for the serious pilgrim a pathway for receiving and experiencing the gift of God’s Presence.”
Additional workshops included “Hear the Divine Voice…Make the Right Choice,” by Dr. Charles Nienkirchen, “Hearing God through Nature: A Walk Through the Ambrose Aspen Stand,” by Wally Rude, “Making (Some) Sense of the Pain: Hearing God in Times of Difficulty and Suffering,” by Dr. Gordon Smith, “Lectio Divina” (Divine Reading) with Kevin Cawthra, “Going Global? A Conversation about Discerning God’s call to Serve Internationally,” and “Hearing the Voice of Jesus through Imaging,” with Joy Ulrich.

Source – To Hear, To Contemplate, To Act ambrose.edu/news_and_events/hear-contemplate-act

Incidentally, Ambrose University College Seminary (in Canada) is a merger of the Christian & Missionary Alliance with The Church of the Nazarene. Ambrose’s new president Gordon T. Smith (previously Vice President and Dean of Regent College), has written several books. In The Voice of Jesus, Smith’s ideas are built on Roman Catholic spiritual traditions of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Ignatius of Loyola. Alone With The Lord is a self guided prayer plan adapted from The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

A few years ago, Charles Nienkirchen led a Lent retreat in Calgary, Alberta.

Westside King’s Church, Calgary, AB
Lent Prayer Retreat
Lent 2010 begins February 17 and concludes April 3. This year we invite you to deepen your experience of this holy season by joining us in spiritual retreat. Dr. Charles Nienkirchen will lead us in an exploration of the prayer journey of Jesus as it is rooted in the events and emotions of his earthly life. Specific attention will be given to the often neglected ‘minor prayers’ of Jesus which reveal the intimate depths of his humanity. Talks, guided prayers, and conversations will form the essence of these very special days.

One of his media appearances in regards to Lent was an interview, which you can learn about or watch at the following links:

100 Huntley Street Airs Interview with Charles Nienkirchen ambrose.edu/content/100-huntley-street-airs-interview-charles-nienkirchen

The Way Of The Cross
April 20, 2011

The Way Of The Cross
100 Huntley (6:30)
youtube (click HERE to watch)

In conclusion, the reader who wrote Lighthouse Trails Research has every right to be concerned. The C&MA certainly is crossing the bridge over the spiritually and theologically muddy waters of ecumenism and interfaith unity. There are many reasons, many ways, many winds, some new and some old. This is only one. The troubling question is, how many undiscerning followers will they take with them? Those who are sending students to Ambrose might do well to take heed.


Ambrose University College hires Jesuit-educated contemplative spirituality proponent as its new president http://suspiciousberean.blogspot.ca/2012/05/ambrose-university-college-hires-jesuit.html

Related posts on this blog:

Christian & Missionary Alliance Students Taught to Listen to God – Contemplative Style https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/christian-missionary-alliance-students-taught-to-listen-to-god-contemplative-style/

Yoga Class at Christian & Missionary Alliance Church https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/yoga-class-at-christian-missionary-alliance-church/

Christian & Missionary Alliance Workers will soon be learning Ancient Spiritual Disciplines https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/christian-missionary-alliance-workers-will-soon-be-learning-ancient-spiritual-disciplines/

Peter Scazzero’s Contemplative Bridge Crossing to Canada https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/peter-scazzeros-contemplative-bridge-coming-to-canada/

Are Ambrose Lecturers Leading Students into Muddy Waters? https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/are-ambrose-lecturers-leading-students-into-muddy-waters/

Christian Missionary Alliance and Focus on the Family Canada leading Christians across the Contemplative Bridge https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/christian-missionary-alliance-and-focus-on-the-family-canada-leading-christians-across-the-contemplative-bridge/


***NEW! Also read a well written review on a book by a Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor who has chosen the contemplative pathway:

Reimer Loses His Way in “Pathways to the King:” A Review

Dr. Rob Reimer, pastor of the Christian & Missionary Alliance South Shore Community Church, adjunct professor at the Alliance Theological Seminary, and speaker at various conferences has authored a book: Pathways to the King: Living a Life of Spiritual Renewal and Power. To look inside is to learn how Reimer loses his way straying onto contemplative and kingdom now roads as he strives to experience, and expand God’s kingdom on earth…

*Click here to read more:


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Why is World Vision Canada promoting a ‘how to’ book about The Rule of St. Benedict, spiritual disciplines and monastic life?

Wonderful summer read: God in My Everything

Buzz grows around Ken Shigematsu’s new book, God in My Everything

God in My Everything, How Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God (Zondervan) is written by Ken Shigematsu, senior pastor at Tenth Church (www.tenth.ca) in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the book he shares the ancient wisdom of the spiritual masters, from his samurai ancestors to the practices of monks in Ireland. To read more about what his book is about, click HERE to read a review by Brave Reviews, or watch the following video…

Not only is World Vision Canada promoting contemplative spiritual formation through this book, they have also been promoting Red Letter Christian Tony Campolo and New Monastic progressive Shane Claiborne and their social justice, reinforcing World Vision’s apparent anti-Israel leanings:

The Red Letters

And Shane Claiborne: Choose Justice DVD and Conversation Guide
Featuring Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo


Shane Claiborne Headlines Spring Tour

Much more could be said but it’s been clear for a while now that, even though they do a lot of good in the world, the gospel of World Vision appears to have been muddied by the change agents of progressive Christianity.

Also previously posted:

World Vision presents Tony Campolo!



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by Jim Fletcher

Did you know Jesus was a Palestinian? Neither did he. That hasn’t stopped the enemies of the Christians’ Prince of Peace from attempting to use him for diabolical political purposes.

What began as a clever propaganda ploy by Yasser Arafat—as part of his lifelong attempt to erase Jewish history—has been picked up by American evangelicals. That Jesus of Nazareth was born and lived as a Jew is an obvious historical fact, just as, for example, Robert E. Lee commanding the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. The background of Jesus Christ, however, inarguably the most famous person in history, is of great importance. His life as a Jew is increasingly being called into question by Muslims, who are working overtime to open “interfaith dialogue” channels with American Christian leaders.

Read more here:


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This May 10th, in the name of tolerance, common ground, peace, and learning from eachother, a church labeling itself as a Calvary Chapel brought in some pro-Palestinian speakers. These were Sami Awad, Lynne Hybels, and Mae Cannon. Some who attended the evening said the presentations were heavily slanted toward the Palestinian view that the “occupation” is responsible for Palestinian suffering.

Learn more by reading the following:

Calvary Chapel Breached

Further Implications of Calvary Chapel North Coast Event – Lynne Hybels Presence Shows Serious Move Toward Apostasy

Calvary Chapel Rebukes Palestinian Event

My Post on Calvary Chapel North Coast FB Deleted – Surprise, Surprise

This has caused a stir because Calvary Chapel has always been pro-Israel due to their verse by verse faithful Bible teaching. Some say they should remove their Calvary Chapel label. How could this be? Where did North Coast Calvary Chapel of Carlsbad, California go astray?

Jumping back a few years to 2007, it was already apparent that North Coast Calvary Chapel openly identified themselves with Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek seeker-friendly church growth movement, even though the Calvary Chapel model is the farthest thing from seeker friendly church growth movement tactics. Pastor Mark Foreman also seemed to be identifying with emerging church/contemplative prayer advocates.[1] To add to the muddy mixture, NCCC has also been hosting Celebrate Recovery, a program that began in Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and influenced by AA.[2] This is also not a method used by other Calvary Chapels.

In November of 2009, North Coast Calvary Chapel’s Women’s Conference Soul at Rest featured as their speaker author Tricia McCary Rhodes, a contemplative advocate.[3]

Even before this, in November of 2008, pastor Mark Foreman of NCCC published a book called Wholly Jesus. His sons, of the popular Christian band Switchfoot, wrote the forewords. The book contained quotes by contemplatives and mystics such as Dallas Willard, Morton Kelsey, and St. Teresa of Avila. Surprisingly, Foreman mentioned in the book how he thought it was okay to use the Hindu greeting Namaste (“I honor the god in you”) to others in recognition that they are made in the image of God.

While disturbing enough, there’s more. The issue at hand is far bigger than NCCC simply identifying with church growth methods or advocating contemplative spirituality. Surprisingly, the introduction in pastor Foreman’s book was written by Gabe Lyons, founder of The Fermi Project, an ‘experiment’ in shifting the consciousness of the church by finding the good in our culture and reshaping it through global awareness and environmentally sustainable practices. This is definitely not Calvary Chapel terminology, but here is where the water gets real muddy.

Last month at North Coast Calvary Chapel, Mark Foreman’s wife Jan hosted “Freefall to Fly” – An Evening with Rebekah Lyons. Rebekah happens to be the wife of Gabe Lyons, who was just mentioned above. They are the cofounders of QIdeas, an organization that “helps leaders winsomely engage culture.”

In 2003 Gabe and Rebekah Lyons founded The Fermi Project

Fermi’s main influence is exerted in “Q” conferences, which invite world leaders from a variety of areas to share “ideas that create a better world.” Conference presenters have included people like authors Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Scot McKnight and Rick Warren,..
… Fermi and its projects have made national headlines when they asked Eboo Patel, a Muslim leader and thinker, to present to their ambitious Christian audience

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_Project

Who is Eboo Patel? He is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core. He is also listed as one of 15 “Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow” on the website for the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is led by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative.[4]

Has Fermi founder Gabe Lyon’s mis-perceptions of Islam influenced pastor Mark Foreman? Has this got anything to do with why the recent misguided pro-Palestinian speakers were invited in to NCCC this May 10th?

Here is a quote from Gabe Lyons:

Can you imagine a future where Muslims and Christians would work alongside one another in our communities to fight for justice, care for the poor, and offer hope to those in need? What if this controversy provoked each of us to consider having more thoughtful and engaging conversations with Muslims who might be interested in the same end? Could Christians be part of the solution to a moderate, peaceful Islam emerging in the West?
The Muslim-Christian Debate: What We’re Missing

That all sounds nice, but are we as Christians to work alongside unbelievers to bring peace to this fallen world, or are we to tell them the good news about the Prince of Peace who will save their eternal souls?

Gabe Lyon’s dreamy considerations led him to invite Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative to a discussion on the future for faith relations in the West.[5]

For those who don’t know, the Cordoba Initiative claims they are a Muslim group trying to build an interfaith bridge between Islam and non-Muslim faiths, but the very name “Cordoba” is a picture of Islam supremacy.[6] The only common ground under that bridge is Islam.

Brigitte Gabriel (ACT for America) and the author of They Must Be Stopped and Because They Hate, recently mentioned Lyon’s friend Rauf on the Sean Hannity show:

“Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has said publicly that the September 11th attack was not perpetrated by Muslims. He said publicly on CNN that the United States was an accessory to the crime and that Osama bin Laden was made in the United States.”
Exclusive: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

Here is Dr. Jim Garlow on the Cordoba Initiative:

So what’s the connection?

Awad, whose family is well-known in certain circles, has been partnering with American evangelical friends Lynne Hybels, Todd Deatherage, and now Gabe Lyons to promote what he describes as a “non-violent” approach to peacemaking. In brief, Awad and his friends portray Israel as a lamentable occupier of Palestinian land and the usual narrative also includes discussion of the big “open-air prison” forced on the downtrodden Palestinians by Israel’s “apartheid wall” (security fence to realists).

-Jim Fletcher, Calvary Chapel Breached, May 6, 2013

Fletcher also says these activists all appear sincere but “they have their talking points, passed from folks like Naim Ateek and Alex Awad, down to Sami Awad, to Lynne Hybels, Gabe Lyons, etc.”[7]

Perhaps Gabe Lyons and his friend pastor Mark Foreman of West Coast Calvary Chapel should reconsider tickling ears with tales and ask the perscecuted Christians in Muslim countries to explain how they feel about this so called moderate peaceful Islam they preach. Or Raymond Ibrahim.

Please pray that instead of in the name of tolerance, common ground, peace, and learning from eachother, the leaders of North Coast Calvary Chapel, and all evangelical churches who are falling into the same error[8], will call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and repent for any damage they may have done by not having loved the truth.

And God bless Jim Fletcher for revealing the truth.


[1] Source: Scroll down to read FISHY CALVARY CHAPEL here:
[2] See: “A Way Which Seemeth Right…” http://www.thebereancall.org/node/2568
[3] See: Contemplative Connects to Calvary Chapel
[4] See: http://www.wnd.com/2010/07/181865/
[5] See: Imam Feisal: The Future of Muslim and Christian Relations in the West @ http://vimeo.com/28716668
[6] See: Why I am against the GZM @ http://www.israpundit.com/archives/28744
[7] Jim Fletcher, In Arabic Please, Mar 18, 2013
[8] Texas Mega-Church Welcomes Islamists to ‘Global Faith Forum’

Note: Incidentally, this year pastor Mark Foreman of North Coast Calvary Chapel and his wife Jan will both be speakers at “Catalyst West” along with Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Matt Chandler, John Eldredge, Nancy Ortberg, while Gabe Lyons and Lynne Hybels both spoke at “Catalyst East” in Atlanta in October (see: ‘New evangelicals’ abandoning Israel @ http://onenewsnow.com/perspectives/miscellaneous/2013/01/29/‘new-evangelicals’-abandoning-israel).


Evangelical Left Voices and Israel

*Read some good news on Jim Fletcher’s update page here:

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“If you are following the news, it seems everything is unraveling. Those who have been following politics and the news are aware that the US of As administration has been filled by anti-constitutionalists. The prophets prophesied transformation for years, and we now have it; only it’s not exactly what they thought it would be.
If you are wondering what is taking place in America, and trying to pin down the activity, it’s simple to understand…”

Read more here:

A “New” Dark Age – In Politics and in the Church
by Mike Oppenheimer

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