Anyone who has followed the blog of Michael Newnham – aka the “Phoenix Preacher” – has probably observed his disdain for Calvary Chapel Founder Chuck Smith and his endorsement of Brian Brodersen and his “New Direction”.
For those who aren’t aware, Michael Newnham is a disgruntled ex-Calvary Chapel guy, who has taken out his frustrations on his blog, and developed a fairly large following. Aside from his many caustic commentaries – the emergent, ecumenical and contemplative sympathies of the Newnham needs to be pointed out. [See http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=27298 ]
In posting the 11/15/2016 article by his ally, Duane Arnold, entitled, “Practicing The Presence of the Church”, Newnham has revealed himself to be promoter of contemplative mysticism, as Arnold is given the digital pulpit to purvey his poison.
“Early in my life as a Christian, a friend gave me the gift of a small volume entitled “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence.” He quickly adds: “It is an extraordinary book which, if you have not read it, I would whole-heartedly recommend. And then Arnold says, “Lawrence made a profound discovery… the continual experience of God’s presence that constituted what we might call today, “a personal relationship with God”.
Without explaining what practices are involved in this so-called “Practicing the Presence”, Arnold says, “May I suggest that if, as the Church, we truly wish to imitate Christ we must do the same.”
The only problem here is that what Brother Lawrence promotes is not “a personal relationship with God”, as claimed – but rather Lawrence promotes the occult form of meditation now know as Contemplative Prayer”.
Arnold’s ecumenical website is, “The Project” @ http://www.themartyrsproject.com/