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Archive for the ‘spiritual disciplines’ 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)
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/mennonites-walk-bartons-bridge-to-rome/

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Recently, more compromise in the C&MA has become evident as seen in Letter to the Editor: Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) Promoting Interspiritual, Panentheist Monk, Basil Pennington at Lighthouse Trails.

To add to the already muddy mix, the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada[1] are embracing the season of Lent this year and are doing 40 days of Lent posts[2]. Also, as Lighthouse Trails reports, on their ‘Deeper Life Resources’ page[3] is a disclaimer:

The following list of resources contain a variety of perspectives that cannot be fully endorsed by the WCD in every manner. We do believe, however, that the discerning reader can benefit greatly from these writings. The following are some of the books that the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada believes to be beneficial.

While the promotion of the Basil Pennington book is is disappointing, it is not even the most shocking recommendation of all. Another resource they believe to be beneficial is a book called Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God Who Speaks by Brad Jersak. This is a book about the practice of listening prayer. Jersak, who believes we can visualize ourselves into the throne room of heaven, is a universalist who does not believe in hell. He has recently become an ordained reader in the Orthodox church, and says he was “’chrismated’ at the end of June (2013) and ordained as a ‘reader’ for the All Saints Monastery…in October.” This was listed in the records of the ARCHDIOCESE OF CANADA, ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA: “Altar server Irenaeus (Bradley) Jersak was tonsured[4] to be a Reader at the Monastery of All Saints of North America in Dewdney, BC.”

Very recently Jersak interviewed Derek Flood who wrote a book called Disarming Scripture[5]. Flood, who blogs at The Rebel God[6], is among others like Brian McLaren who have been wrestling with questions of faith and doubt, violence in the Bible, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ. McLaren has written the forewords in both of his books. In Disarming Scripture, endorsed by Steve Chalke (also a denier of ‘Substitutionary Atonement’) and Jim Wallis, Brian D. Mclaren says “You need Derek Flood.”

If Brad Jersak, Derek Flood and all these men are like minded, why is he listed as an author of a beneficial book by the Western District of the C&MA? Other books by various contemplatives and mystics which are considered beneficial are equally concerning.

Rivers from Eden by Eden Jersak (Brad Jersak’s wife) is a forty-day spiritual exercise in Listening Prayer a lifestyle. Essential Guide to Healing by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark is described by C&MA as “a rich theological and historical foundation for healing in the church today.” However, Bill Johnson can hardly be called theologically sound[7]. The New Mystics by John Crowder is described as an examination of “Christian mystics throughout the ages who focused on the presence and power of God.” This may be the most shocking promotion of all. John Crowder of “Slosh Fest” reputation is often “drunk in the spirit” making animal noises and saying outrageous blasphemous things about Jesus[8].

The other beneficial books listed are mostly the typical contemplative material, such as The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen and Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross. In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson is a book about the offices, or fixed hours of prayer (the Rule of St. Benedict). The foreword is by Phyllis Tickle, who is arm in arm with the usual emerging church leaders and teachers of the new ancient spirituality. Let Go by Fenelon is touted as a classic by one of the church fathers, but Fenelon was the most famous disciple of French mystic and contemplative Madam Jean Guyon. Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius Loyola is another telling recommendation. These contemplative writings and exercises were written by the founder of the Jesuits[9].

In all, it appears that discernment in the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance has died.

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?Galatians 3:1

[For those who are genuinely concerned about this denomination and would like to know what to contend and pray for, please read about the muddy mixture of spirituality due to lack of discernment by entering: ‘Christian & Missionary Alliance’ into the search box of this blog.]

____________

Endnotes:

[1] http://www.transformcma.ca/
[2] http://40days-faithandhope.com/category/lent-posts-2015/
[3] http://www.transformcma.ca/resources-2/
[4] Tonsure is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tonsūra (to clip, or cut) and referred to a specific practice in medieval Catholicism, abandoned by papal order in 1972. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsure
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYbva9J8L2g
[6] http://www.therebelgod.com/
[7] BETHEL CHURCH’S “APOSTLE” BILL JOHNSON: A COMEDY OF ERRORS, PART 1
http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/10/bethel-churchs-apostle-bill-johnson-comedy-errors-part-1/
[8] MYSTIC JOHN CROWDER Exposed – Part 1 of 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNGPA6Idopg
Part 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKj-pFo11ys
This is Not That: An Analysis of John Crowder’s 
“The New Mystics”
http://www.apostasyalert.org/REFLECTIONS/crowder.htm
[9] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6844

UPDATE 2015:

Brian McLaren has just endorsed 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.
NOTE: Read more about McLaren’s involvment with Derek Flood here:
Healing the Gospel or Changing it?https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/healing-the-gospel-or-changing-it/

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What does this muddy mixture have in common?

A minister in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, an archdeacon of an Anglican Cathedral, a reverend of a Presbyterian Church, contemplative prayer, Buddhism, mindfulness meditation, centering prayer, and brain-expanding practices?

Read all about it, here (the article may be a year old but still relevant):

Prayer research opens fresh frontiers of spiritual practice
http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2013/12/24/prayer-research-opens-fresh-frontiers-of-spiritual-practice/

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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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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/

____________

***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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A Historical Analysis of Mysticism: Part II
Catholic and Buddhist Spirituality in the Context of the 16th through 21st Centuries
by Scott Noble
 Nov 9, 2013

Many predators use camouflage to sneak up on unsuspecting prey. The Arctic Owl, in addition to being an extremely silent flier, has white feathers to blend in with its snowy surroundings. If it were a noisy flier with neon orange feathers, it would have a hard time sinking its talons into a potential meal. The doctrines of demons are often camouflaged as well, so as to hide the potential danger from their target audience. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)
Many people in the church today, in an attempt to live the victorious Christian life, are turning to the Catholic mystics for guidance and revival. Who are these people, and in what direction do their lives point? This paper will take a look at the lives and teachings of seven mystics, aka contemplatives of the past five centuries: Ignatius of Loyola (AD 1491-1556), Teresa of Avila (AD 1515-1582), John of the Cross (AD 1542-1591), “Brother” Lawrence (AD ca. 1614-1691), Madame Jeanne Guyon (AD 1648-1717), Thérèse of Lisieux (AD 1873-1897), and “Mother” Teresa of Calcutta (AD 1910-1997), as well as three recent popes, and a few events in Asia related to Buddhism.

Read more here:
http://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/discernment/a-historical-analysis-of-mysticism-part-ii

*Find Part 1 here:

https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/a-historical-analysis-of-mysticism-part-i/

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