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Archive for the ‘seminary’ Category

Father Thomas Ryan is a catholic priest who directs the North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington DC for his community, the Paulist Fathers.[1] He also coordinates ecumenical and inter-religious relations for the paulist community in Canada. A certified Kripalu yoga teacher, one of the sacred practices he teaches is YOGA PRAYER: AN EMBODIED CHRISTIAN PRACTICE.[2] Last fall Fr Thomas Ryan wrote several guest blogs for ‘Shalem Institute’s Living Contemplatively’[3].

This week Father Thomas Ryan will be speaking with Dr. Gordon Smith, President of Ambrose University College and Seminary, in Calgary, Alberta (the seminary of Christian and Missionary Alliance and The Church of the Nazarene). Together they will be leading “Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s Mission—Together,” which is an opportunity to…

“…come together to talk about Christian unity and mission. Church unity is a global issue that matters: Jesus prayed in the closing hours of his life for the unity of his followers, and the church’s vocation is to be a sign in our world of God’s reconciling power. The truth is that Evangelicals and Catholics share much more in common than not.”[4]

This comes as no surprise to those who have been watching the muddy streams of religion converge. Indeed, a picture says a thousand words.[5]

__________

[1] http://www.kripalu.org/presenter/V0000213/fr_thomas_ryan
[2] http://www.paulistproductions.org/movies-yoga-prayer.html
[3] http://livingcontemplatively.org/tag/fr-thomas-ryan/
[4] http://ambrose.edu/global-impact-week
[5] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=14806

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON THIS BLOG:

C&MA and Ambrose: Welcoming Spiritually Muddy Theology
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/ambrose-welcoming-spiritually-muddy-theology/

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 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/

RELATED RESOURCES:

Evangelicals and Catholics Together – Part 1
(December 1994 – Volume 1, Issue 2)
Was the Reformation a mistake, or do fundamental points of doctrine still separate the Roman Catholic Church from us?
Read Parts 1-3 here:
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/24-ecumenicalism/568-evangelicals-and-catholics-together-part-1

Evangelicals & Catholics: The Next Generation?
McMahon, T.A.
http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5204

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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
wkc.org/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
http://www.100huntley.com/video.php?id=rAOGVc9D73o

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.

Related:

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/

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***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:

http://whputnam00.blogspot.ca/2014/04/reimer-loses-his-way-in-pathways-to.html

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Embracing Contemplative Shows Ill Effects at Moody Bible Institute in Ecumenical “Road to Rome” Event

For over seven years now, Lighthouse Trails has followed Moody Bible Institute’s continued promotion of contemplative spirituality. Although the organization has denied that they are promoting contemplative, the evidence has consistently existed. Those who have a good understanding of contemplative spirituality are aware of the inevitable outcome for followers of contemplative. This outcome is a change in spiritual attitude that leads to the following – ecumenism (a joining together of all religious traditions, in particularly Catholicism first, then Islam), interspirituality (all paths lead to God), panentheism (God is in all), and eventually universalism (all are saved, regardless of belief – thus no need for the Cross).

Read more here:
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=14071

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A story from Stand Up For The Truth that is happening in mainline churches everywhere but few are bold enough to take a stand.

LETTER: ELDER FORCED TO LEAVE FOR STANDING AGAINST SPIRITUAL FORMATION

Would you take a stand against a dangerous practice in your church?
John from Ohio wrote to us a few days ago to share that he had to resign his longtime position as elder of his mainline Evangelical church because of the Spiritual Formation/Transformation movement that had not just crept into his church, but had infiltrated every aspect of ministries there, including the youth ministries. His story is heartbreaking and will cut to the quick of anyone who has ever tried to help his or her church understand why this movement is so unbiblical and dangerous. John has given us permission to share his story:

Read his story here:
http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/05/letter-elder-forced-to-leave-for-standing-against-spiritual-formation/

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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.

To Hear, To Contemplate, To Act
https://ambrose.edu/news_and_events/hear-contemplate-act

Ambrose University College Seminary is a merger of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) with The Church of the Nazarene (Canada). 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. (Read more about this here: Ambrose University College hires Jesuit-educated contemplative spirituality proponent as its new president.)

Is there any question as to whether this seminary is leading their students over the contemplative bridge to Rome?

Related:

What is centering prayer?
http://www.gotquestions.org/centering-prayer.html

Who Were the Desert Fathers?
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/desertfathers.htm

“Who are the Jesuits, and what do they believe?”
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesuits.html

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/

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/

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

Ambrose Seminary teaches contemplative spirituality in 2009-2010
http://suspiciousberean.blogspot.ca/2010/02/ambrose-seminary-teaches-contemplative.html

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

Ambrose University (CMA & Nazarene) Full Speed into Contemplative/Emergent
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1452

NEW:

Letter to the Editor: Christian & Missionary Alliance OK With Ruth Haley Barton and Other Contemplatives
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=11640

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Ambrose University College Seminary of the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) is a merger of the Christian & Missionary Alliance and The Church of the Nazarene. Not only have they recently been teaching their students ancient Roman Catholic contemplative spirituality, Ambrose’s lecturers show us another area where they appear to be straying from the purity of the gospel. Their recent past speakers have included substituitonary atonement denier William Young (The Shack) and the radical Tony Campolo (see here).

Last February, Ambrose had a lecturer named David Fitch, who, among other things, discussed the significant strengths of some emergent leaders like false teacher Brian McLaren. The following quotes are from Fitch’s blog:

“People like Borg. McLaren, and the Emergent church in general do a marvelous job of capturing this aspect of what God has done in Jesus Christ for the world”…
“People like Brian McLaren…and Marcus Borg have opened up (in their popular writings) the fullness of the incarnation in ways rarely accessible in the past to Christians in N America.”

http://www.reclaimingthemission.com/the-incarnation-some-clarifications-on-an-abused-term-post-2-marcus-borg-and-brian-mclaren/

Does Fitch know it was Marcus Borg of The Jesus Seminar who wrote:

“I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product. I learned that it is a human cultural product, the product of two ancient communities, biblical Israel and early Christianity. As such, it contained their understandings and affirmations, not statements coming directly or somewhat directly from God…. I realized that whatever “divine revelation” and the “inspiration of the Bible” meant (if they meant anything), they did not mean that the Bible was a divine product with divine authority.”

“Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world.”

– Borg, The God We Never Knew

Do these speakers and lecturers teach biblical truth? What is their influence? What is the purpose of Ambrose for inviting them? Does Ambrose expose their students to these types of teachers to teach them to use discernment… or to confuse them with a muddy mixture of truth and error?

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
2 Peter 2:1,2

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Rich Mouw on Why Evangelicals Need to Be Quick to Listen to Mormons
The president of Fuller Theological Seminary on ‘Talking with Mormons.’

Richard J. Mouw startled many in the Christian world with a seven-minute speech in November 2004 that detailed how evangelicals had “sinned against Mormons.” By that, the president of Fuller Theological Seminary meant evangelicals had misrepresented what Mormons believed in order to critique them. Mouw, a longtime participant in Mormon interfaith dialogues, has spent endless hours defending his statements to evangelical friends and colleagues. He continues this outreach in Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals (Eerdmans). Salt Lake Tribune religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack spoke with Mouw on the evolving nature of Latter-day Saint (LDS) theology, where it touches and where it diverges from historic Christianity, and how believers can systematically consider faiths outside the Christian fold.

More here:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/july-august/rich-mouw-on-why-evangelicals-need-to-listen.html

NOTE: Richard Mouw was one of the men who supported a document that has caused confusion and helped to “give aid and comfort to the enemies of the cause of Christ.” (SOURCE: Whatever Happened to the Gospel? A Review of and Response to “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium by James White)

Related:

Seminary President Apologizes for Christians Evangelizing the Mormons
http://www.letusreason.org/Current54.htm

Most Improbable Dialogue
Mormon Tabernacle revival service is latest sign of openness to evangelicals.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/november/11.23.html

Evangelica​ls Courting the Mormons?
Take a Stand Ministries

Current:

RICHARD MOUW ON DIALOGUING WITH MORMONS
http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2012/07/23/richard-mouw-on-dialoguing-with-mormons/

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