In a recent post, I suggested the potential of an unholy alliance between Renovare, YouthFront, and Barefoot Ministries, based on Mike King’s post from his blog. I had also reported on the retreat that was scheduled for July at Point Loma Nazarene University, sponsored by Renovaré. They also had a strange event called Nurturing The Prophetic Imagination, as reported by Pastor Peter Migner on his blog. For some reason, Point Loma has apparently removed that info from their site.
This is a followup to highlight what was on the agenda for the that Renovaré Retreat at Point Loma in July.
HERE IS THEIR PROGRAM DESCRIPTION which is still on the website: (the bold highlight is mine for emphasis)
The Renovaré Covenant Retreat is uniquely designed to encourage your faith and renew your thinking, as well as give you the flexibility to spend time with God in your own special ways.
Wind your way through the Experiential Prayer Room, encounter Jesus through the Stations of the Cross, envelop yourself in nature at the On-the-Beach Prayer Experience, or simply take time in solitude.
• Taizé Services
• Prayer Labyrinth and other prayer walks
• Small Group and Personal Spiritual Direction*
• Formation Conversations
• Lectio Divina
• Daily Guidance Meditations
• Daily Time of Silence
• Guided Reflection Experiences
• Community Gatherings
• Adult, College, Youth and Children’s Spiritual Formation Tracks*
* After submitting your registration we will send the Primary Registrant more information on these options
Let’s look at a few of these items that were on the agenda for our Nazarene students:
Taizé Services: Taize worship is most exemplified by the Taizé community in France. It is an interspiritual, ecumenical system that welcomes any and all religions to participate in spirituality practices and “commune” with God. In his bio on the Point Loma website, chaplain Mark Carter says that Brother Roger, who founded Taizé, is one of his heroes! You can read my post on Point Loma and it’s contemplative involvement here.
Prayer Labyrinth: This is a pagan practice that comes straight out of pagan and occultic practices.
Stations of the Cross, Lectio Divina: These ritualized practices are part of the whole collection of contemplative spirituality*, which is a Christianized way of emptying the mind.
Compline: This is another of the Roman Catholic rituals that are derived from the early monastic days. It’s described as the final church service (or Office) of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. It’s origin seems to be most attributed to St. Benedict, famous for his Rule of Benedict. Here you can see in this video how it is performed. In many monasteries it is the custom to begin the “Great Silence” after Compline, during which the whole community, including guests, observes silence throughout the night until the morning service the next day. (from Wikipedia). Another ritual that has no basis in scripture, and draws attention to our efforts.
Daily time of silence: They schedule during the day an activity, a time for the discipline of silence. Is that scriptural? How many disciplines are there, and what basis in scripture do each have? Praying to God, I would agree, is a spiritual discipline, and fasting also. But silence? And this type of silence that these people promote is the kind that leads to the emptying of the mind, which then becomes open to demonic influence.
Other titles, such as daily guidance meditations, and guided reflection experiences seem to be reflective of activities that are consistent with the contemplative spirituality movement. It’s all about experience. Note how they emphasize that doing these practices are ways that you can draw closer to God. The spiritual formation tracks were not provided unless you are registered, but I can only imagine its more of the same from Renovaré. I wonder how much time, if any, was devoted to teaching or discussing the benefits of reading the Bible for the understanding of God’s clear message (without the use of mantras).
Here below are four of their featured speakers, and their bios, followed by my comments:
Chris Webb: an Anglican Vicar from Wales, UK, and President of Renovaré USA, has been greatly influence by St. Francis of Assisi as well as the great spiritual classics.
Oh, to hear someone once again say, they have been greatly influenced by the Lord Jesus Christ, who forgave them and rescued them from the bondage of sin. Instead, there is rarely any mention of that with some of these people, and instead, they quote heretical monks and mystics from the dark ages. Some of them (I don’t know about Webb) you cannot even find a testimony anywhere of their salvation by repentance from sin and turning to Christ in faith. Instead, he quotes St. Francis who is known for that highly unscriptural quote, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”
Chris Simpson: has been involved in spiritual formation for many years through Contemplative Outreach, and has a passion to see various faith communities learn and grow together in Christ.
Contemplative Outreach is one of the most dangerous organizations in the world in terms of promoting contemplative spirituality practices, which knows no religious bounds. It is for everyone! View the following carefully, and do not fall for this false spiritual system: Reaching Out To The World. And which “various faith communities” is he talking about, I wonder? Is it anyone who “claims” the name of Jesus? Would he also include communities outside of Christianity?
Richard Foster: speaks throughout the world on Christian spirituality, and will be leading several conversation on his book and the theme for the 2010 Covenant Retreat, Longing for God.
Foster is the founder of Renovaré and probably the most prominent modern day promoter of contemplative mysticism and spiritual formation**. Renovaré is particularly dangerous, because on its site, you will find much that is absolutely right on- such as their posting of The Apostle’s Creed. Mixing the good with a little of the bad, as all brilliant false teachers do.
But Foster himself has said that contemplative prayer can be used by anyone (not just Christians) to reach God, and that it can be like a portable sanctuary. He has also given warnings to us that it is a dangerous practice that can possibly invite the wrong spirits into our minds! And… that it is a practice not to be tried by novices! Yet, as I pointed out before, his book (Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home) was featured prominently in a prayer room at the Nazarene General Assembly last year! Why? Where is the discernment, my friends? Did the General Superintendents approve that, and if not, who did? Richard Foster and his organization is one of the most dangerous threats to biblical Christianity today, but few are taking notice!
Jeff Johnson: unites musical meditations of chant, songs, hymns and instrumental pieces, creating unique Contemporary Celtic worship experiences.
Do you remember my post about Tony Campolo, and the “thin places” he referred to? I guess Jeff Johnson is into these occultic practices also. And so he has had the opportunity to poison the minds of dozens, perhaps hundreds of students and adults- and young children! Perhaps this trend explains why some students at Point Loma tried this dangerous and unscriptural practice: http://blogs.pointloma.edu/thepointweekly/2010/11/01/a-slumber-party-with-madame-tingley/
Is there any mature, adult, Christian guidance going on at Point Loma? Why is someone being allowed to teach practices that are clearly occult in nature?
There were others that I am not very familiar with: Mickey Cox, Paula Frost. But I question their discernment at the very least, for being involved with these pushers of false Christian spirituality.
So there you have it. Contemplative spirituality run amuck at Point Loma. is there any doubt but that Point Loma is welcoming Catholic contemplative spirituality and monastic mysticism? How ironic that Point Loma’s campus is located right on the site of what used to be a place for occultic practices called the Theosophical Society, founded by occultic spiritualist Madame Blavatsky. Frankly, I don’t think the irony would be lost on satan, who most likely is delighted that so many are falling for this deception- at a holiness university!
Is this an example reflective of the holiness teachings from the Church of the Nazarene? It is my suspicion that not one professor at Point Loma; not one pastor in the Nazarene church, not one person in leadership position today, not even one NazNet pastor, can biblically defend what happened at Point Loma Nazarene University. If so, please do so, and I will publish your defense for all the world to see. And if I am wrong about this, I will apologize to all.
I ask the question again to my fellow Nazarenes, and especially for those in leadership positions: Is this what you want for your children’s future?
*Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.
**Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.
(From Lighthouse Trails Research)