Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference to Feature Contemplative Speakers

The 2018 Calvary Chapel Pastors and Leaders Conference will feature a number of speakers from outside the CC movement, not the least of which is Dr. Gerry Breshears. A graduate of the heretical Fuller Seminary, Breshears is Professor of theology at Western Seminary, and is also the co-author of three books with the infamous Mark Driscoll.

The recent appearance of contemplative promoter Kyle Strobel at the Calvary Chapel Men’s Conference [See  https://emergentwatch.com/2018/04/12/calvary-chapel-mens-conference-to-feature-contemplative-speaker/ was apparently not a one off, as now Strobel is to be a featured speaker at the 2018 CC Pastors and Leaders Conference. The inclusion of Strobel at two of CC’s premiere events marks the deepest infiltration of contemplative mysticism into the CC movement to date.

The Bio data on Kyle Strobel (KS) presented in the list of speakers at the CC PLC18 only states that Strobel is “a theologian at Talbot School of Theology, Biola Univ. What they fail to mention is that in fact KS is “Associate Professor of *Spiritual Theology – Institute for Spiritual Formation” [ISF]. See http://www.talbot.edu/isf/about-isf/faculty/

“Spiritual Formation” at Talbot is thoroughly contemplative, and the ISF is it’s very core… The ISF’s “Goals and Approach” informs us:

“All of our programs… facilitate personal growth [NOTE] through various experiences, including: *Experiential-relational soul work employing [NOTE] the spiritual disciplines within courses along with co-curricular activity in personal *spiritual direction, various [contemplative] retreats, individual psychotherapy, and community [group] experiences.”

Strobel’s boss and mentor at the ISF is John H. Coe, (who is a fierce defender of contemplative practices). See his bio @ http://media1.biola.edu/rosemead/faculty/cvs/john_coe.pdf

Though Strobel & co. had previously gone to great lengths to avoid using the word “contemplative” – the “C” word has returned again – in the forthcoming (2018) book entitled “Contemplation and Contemplative Prayer: A Guide for Evangelicals” – of which Strobel is co-editor.

As further evidence of Strobel’s contemplative ideology, consider:

Spring 2014 article by KS in Biola’s Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, was titled “A Theological Prolegomena for Contemplation” – wherein Strobel says, “Contemplation is at the heart of the Christian faith…” [show SC]

July 2016 – KS article: “Jonathan Edward’s Reformed Doctrine of Theosis” in the leftist Harvard Theological Review – the Review being the journal of Harvard Divinity School, whose notable professors include: Harvey Cox, Henri Nouwen, Paul Tillich and [Marxist] Cornel West.

Lighthouse Trails has noted KS’ recommendation of his ‘Top Ten’ books in 2008.

Lighthouse Trails has written on Strobel’s contemplativism: “There is NO QUESTION that Kyle Strobel is following the contemplative path… [Strobel] is helping to pave the contemplative way by touting the works and practices of mystics, contemplatives, and emergents. Kyle’s website ministry Metamorpha is called “an online community for Christian spiritual formation,” listing several contemplative practices, including repetitive prayers, lectio divina, and Ignatian exercises. Recommended books on the site list a who’s who of contemplative mysticism proponents such as Dallas Willard, Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Adele Calhoun, Thomas Kelly, and several others.” > See https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1405

Strobel’s ‘Academic Curriculum Vitae’ is here: https://assets.biola.edu/4396738754672012438/attachment/5ace387ab9c465000648fc05/Kyle_Strobel_2018.pdf

 

 

 

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Calvary Chapel Men’s Conference To Feature Contemplative Speaker

When Pastor Chuck Smith was alive, the CC Men’s Conferences, held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center, were a bastion of Christian strength, spiritual edification and biblical spirituality, centered on God’s Word… apparently this is now no longer true.

(Brian Brodersen’s) Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa’s 2018 Men’s Conference [Sat. 5/12] is featuring the emergent, contemplative Kyle Strobel. Strobel is not affiliated in any way with CC, and his inclusion in the CC Men’s Con18 is highly irregular. Strobel is the author of several books and created a contemplative group called “Metamorpha”. Strobel is currently Associate Professor at Talbot School of Theology – Being well versed in church history, but also in the practices of Catholic contemplatives. [See https://mensconference.calvarychapel.com/]

While his teaching career may pay the bills, Strobel’s real passion seems to be contemplative mysticism. He has been a featured speaker at more than a few contemplative conferences – not the least of which is Richard Foster’s RenovareWhere in 2014, he spoke besides top contemplatives Larry Crabb, Ruth Haley Barton, Eugene Cho and Richard Foster himself. Make no mistake about it, these conferences are about one thing, and one thing only – Contemplative mysticism and it’s practices.

Strobel’s 2007 book “Metamorpha” has some very telling endorsements: See http://metamorpha.com/resources/books/metamorpha/  >> Dan Kimball author, The Emerging Church; Contemplative guru Chuck Smith Jr., and Leonard Sweet, author of the (heretical) Jesus Manifesto, and others.

A book review of Strobel’s [2013] “Formed for the Glory of God” tells us: “Many Protestants are now quite happy to read Catholics… Strobel himself is young and profoundly aware of the hungers of the post-modern generation, and is [NOTE] well grounded in the scholarly study of church history and various sorts of thinkers who taught contemplation and meditation. In fact, he explores exactly some of this sort of mystery in this very volume.”

Formed for the Glory of God reveals the books contents, as chapter 4 is entitled “Spiritual disciplines as a means of Grace”. Spiritual Disciplines virtually always is referring to contemplative mystical practices. Chapter 6 is entitled: “Meditation and Contemplation”, etc.

In the 2013 book, Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics, co-authored by Strobel and his Metamorpha partner Jamin Goggin, the “Suggested Reading” section includes: John of the Cross: The Collected Works of...; Julian of Norwich: Showings; Thomas Merton: The Wisdom of the Desert, and many other “classic” contemplatives.

Strobel’s Metamorpha website is careful to disguise words and phrases that are instantly recognizable as being contemplative. They claim that they: “Serve the local church by offering *training resources that cultivate [NOTE] *doctrinal reflection (Lectio Divina), the life of (contemplative) prayer, and compassionate (Social gospel) community.”

Metamorpha also regularly promotes contemplative gurus Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. A 2011 article on Metamorpha by Dallas Willard was titled: “Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Formation, and the Restoration of the Soul”, wherein Willard advocates becoming “active in spiritual growth by *utilizing (‘spiritual’) disciplines such as [NOTE] solitude, silence and fasting… Spiritual formation through spiritual disciplines is emphasized.”

Summary: It should be quite clear from the above evidence that Kyle Strobel is a dyed-in-the-wool emergent/ contemplative who should have absolutely no place in Calvary Chapel, let alone at the premier annual event for CC men. Yet it appears Brodersen has taken yet another step off the precipice into the contemplative abyss. Although Strobel may not even discuss contemplative mysticism directly at the conference, you can be sure his books will be on the merchandise tables, and thus his impact at the CCMC18 could have great and lasting consequences. Sadly, rather than protecting the sheep, the CC leadership are feeding them to the wolves.

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YWAM’s Occultic New Age ‘Alternatives’ Ministry

The Christian community was recently shocked to discover that a group out of Bethel Redding – Christ Alignment – was practicing divination using “Destiny Cards”, and involved in forbidden occultic practices under the guise of ‘ministering’ to New Agers.

As it turns out, Christ Alignment has a sister group, connected to the Mendocino YWAM HQ – YWAM’s “Alternatives.net“. is based in Ontario Canada, and like ‘ChristAlignment‘, bills itself as a ministry outreach to New Agers

The Alternatives ministry is lead by a Finnish couple Jari Koivu and his wife, and claims to offer “Spiritual Readings, ‘Healing Touch’, ‘Sacred Oil’, Dream interpretation, “Prophetic & Angelic languages”.

Their webpage says: “Our teams have ministered at many holistic health and alternative spirituality expos, with hundreds (allegedly) coming to Christ and many *reported healings. We also train churches and organizations to do this… Our flagship training for that is called ‘Carry the Light‘ [cp. Latin = Lucifer].” See http://www.ywamalternatives.net/

See the accompanying video here: http://

“Alternatives Network also offers different retreats which focus on renewal, *CONTEMPLATION, healing, etc. Another aspect of our work is INNER HEALING [Sozo].” See: http://www.ywamalternatives,net/about.html

The banners displayed at the new age expos state: (apx. translation from Finnish) ““Open Sky Cafe – “On the way to Light: Intuitive messages, Words and visions whose messages healing the Spirit Energy, body and mind – Cure encounter – Holy Spirirt effective guidance for spirit growth”

Other banners claim they offer “Healing Touch” and that “There is an *IMPARTATION and flow of spiritual energy when we combine words of healing and placing our hands on the subject.”

The reality of this group is that aside from the demonic doctrines and practices involved, the leaders of this “alternatives” group use this ministry as a front to market their own line new age products.

Their banner proclaims “Wellness Advocates”, as they openly sell their Essential Oil/ Aromatherapy products at the same venues they do their “Open Sky Cafe” / “prophetic guidance” ministry.

The same essential oils being sold by Jari and the Alternatives group – doTerra – are promoted as, and used in new age occult/ meditation and Yoga rituals. See https://www.doterra.com/US/en/empowered-life-series-yoga-and-meditation

doTERRA has a series of endorsement videos by Yoga & meditation instructors, and a “Mindfulness” page, and one entitled: “The Unity of Yoga and Essential Oils”- see https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/science-wellness-unity-yoga-essential-oils

One video by Jari Koivu shows him doing a seminar on the ‘Alternatives’ ministry, wherein he states:

“When we do this (the new age expos) we believe that God speaks and offers words of encouragement, comfort and (will) edify non-Christians. We can encourage and comfort un-churched people. In many churches this is a new idea. This is something we can do and it seems that Jesus really likes that…” And:

“When we go to these expos… we just bless people…. we don’t prophecy in a Christian way though… We introduce ourselves as followers of Jesus. we don’t say we’re Christians because of the bad connotations… (they tell them) ‘This is not a psychic reading, because psychic is about the soul realm. This is a spiritual reading. We tune into the Holy Spirit here, and we do, whether it’s healing or prophesying, we do this in the name of Jesus Christ…”

NOTE: In addition to his YWAM activities, Jari has also been a regular at John Arnott’s ‘Catch the Fire Toronto’.

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See also: Young Living and Do Terra Essential Oils — New Age and Occult Multi-level Marketing in the Church – https://thelasthiker.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/young-living-and-do-terra-new-age-and-occult-multi-level-marteting-in-the-church/

Hillsong Sponsoring Contemplative Alpha – Allows Catholic Mass at Conference

In what appears to be a one of the latest atrocities in the ecumenical war against God’s church, Hillsong churches are partnering with Alpha – a contemplative program that originated in the heretical Anglican Holy Trinity Brompton – the church that was the European home of the ‘Holy Laughter’ heresies.

The mega-ecumenical Alpha Conference 2018 in the U.S. was just held at Hillsong Phoenix on Feb. 8-9, and featured popular Catholic artist Matt Maher, the Hillsong Phoenix worship team, Eleanor Mumford of the Vinyard Int’l Executive, Catholic Bishop Eduardo Nevares, and former Willow Creek executive Craig Springer. > See their promo vid: https://vimeo.com/239912965


Photos of the event show Catholic clergy in full regalia holding up the Eucharist wafer and doing mass on the stage at Hillsong Phoenix.

 

Strange thing is, Hillsong Phoenix’s Facebook pages show no trace of the Alpha Conference. But, Hillsong LA’s social media page show the church is beginning the full Alpha course in the church starting Jan. 31st 2018. > See https://hillsong.com/la/alpha/

Apparently, unbeknownst to most, Hillsong has had an “Alpha Track” at many of their conferences since at least 2011. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9rOZNF1ams

How long Hillsong can maintain the facade of orthodoxy is anyone’s guess, but they are aided by endorsements like Greg Laurie’s and Brian Brodersen’s, who on KWVE radio @12/3/2015 said:

“I’m a big Hillsong fan… These guys are tremendous when it comes to worship. I might not agree with every fine point of theology, with the Hillsong movement, but that’s OK. We don’t have to agree with everybody on all the finer points of theology. They’re Christians, [NOTE] THEY’RE *ORTHODOX, they believe in the Gospel… I recently read Brian Houston’s book ‘Live, Love, Lead‘ – it’s a great book, inspiring – So, personally, I appreciate the contribution that Hillsong is making to the advancement of the Kingdom in this generation – I think it’s a good thing.”

Anyone familiar with Alpha’s links to contemplative mysticism knows this certainly is not a good thing. As a quick perusal of the Hillsong TV Channel will show – Hillsong is far from being orthodox, and is firmly in the ‘Word-Faith’ / ‘Kingdom Now’ camp. That they have now joined with Alpha takes their apostasy to a whole new level.

See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANvmPqfd6mE

And see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsN00TxSQFI

UPDATE >> See also Hillsong exposing their Chrislamic, Roman Catholic agenda @ https://youtu.be/HDBBqn0Vdho

 

National Worship Leader Conference – The Heretical 2018 Lineup

Calvary Chapel pastor Steve Berger (Grace Chapel, Franklin, Tenn.) will be speaking this year at the contemplative promoting 2018 National Worship Leader Conference. Put on by Christian music mogul Chuck Fromm: This year’s featured speakers/ artists will also include the heretical Leonard Sweet, contemplative guru Chuck Smith Jr., contemplative promoting artist David Crowder, popular Catholic artist Matt Maher and others.

Steve Berger drew criticism last year for hosting Lou Engle’s ‘Awaken the Dawn’ NAR promo event at his church back early October.  > See https://emergentwatch.com/2017/08/24/calvary-chapel-affiliate-hosts-major-ecumenical-nar-event/

Berger is the author of the 2010 book, ‘Have Heart’ – wherein he claims he contacted his dead child, and advocates Christian parents contact their dead children. A dangerous and unbiblical proposition.

That Berger hasn’t lost his affiliation because of his deviations, and apostate affiliations does not speak well for Calvary Chapel.

Leonard Sweet, a good friend of Chuck Fromm, has been a regular fixture at his conferences. Sweet is known for his new age/ Christian books ‘Quantum Spirituality‘ and ‘The Jesus Manifesto‘, and for his infamous quotes, such as: “One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or (NOTE) *Kali, or Krishna!”

In Quantum Spirituality [1991], Sweet says, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic who has *experienced something- or he will be nothing at all… Mysticism is metaphysics arrived at through mind-body experiences. Mysticism begins in experience – it ends in theology…” [pg. 76] Such is obviously anti-biblical, yet somehow Sweet manages to still be considered a leading ‘Christian’ theologian in many circles.

Chuck Smith Jr. had issues even before his departure from Calvary Capo Beach, back in 2005. After struggling with depression for years, he purportedly found peace and comfort in the monastic solitude of the (Catholic) New Camaldolese Hermitage in Big Sur, California.

Chuck Jr. has become a major teacher of contemplative prayer – supported, spiritually and financially, by his uncle, Chuck Fromm. Even after his departure from the CCCB pastorate, he was brought back in again by Matt Whitlock during his ‘Symbolic‘ youth ministry.

In the following video Chuck Smith Jr. leads the ‘Symbolic’ youth group in contemplative mysticism using new age guided visualization.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/4733535″&gt;{JESUS THE RABBI} Contemplative Prayer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/mattwhitlock”>Matt Whitlock</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

On his ‘Reflexion’ website Smith says, “The one person who had the most profound influence on my growth in Jesus Christ was a devout monk who lived at the hermitage. He had intense theological training, which marinated in thirty-five years of *contemplative spirituality.”

The NWLC has apparently downsized and will only hold the one conference in Nashville this year. Still, Chuck Fromm and his friends have been busy behind the scenes – in many areas affecting the church – and not necessarily in a good way.

Fromm’s Worship Leader Magazine is the premier magazine reaching worship ministries worldwide, and attempts to influence them with contemplative ideology.

Author Leonard Payton writes: Worship Leader (magazine)… , the periodical’s raison d’être is to promote and sell contemporary Christian music within the church. The big four-color ads are from Hosanna/ Integrity Music, Word Music, Maranatha Music, vineyard Music Group, and a host of other CCM peddlers, many of which are within the Manifest Destiny and Kingdom Now camp…”

Payton says of Fromm: “He is doing what good business does, namely, make a profit. If his enterprise were under the close and vetoing scrutiny of ecclesiastical authorities, the product might be different (and would probably not turn such a handsome profit)… If it feels good, it sells well. As long as ecclesiastic authorities remain so cowardly, the contemporary Christian music industry will continue to do unobstructed business inside the church.” >> See http://www.the-highway.com/Music_Prelude.html

See also https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=181

Lectio Divina – The Prophetic Pandora’s Box

My recent research led me to some social media posts by a group of “charismatic” Catholics. On their page, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Capuchin contemplative monk and speaker at IHOP’s ‘One Thing’ Catholic Track conference states:

“The inebriation that comes from the Holy Spirit purifies of sin, renews the heart in fervor and enlightens the mind by a *SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE of God – NOT a RATIONAL but an intuitive, *EXPERIENTIAL knowledge, accompanied by inner joy.” – [Fr. Cantalamessa]

The obtaining of special knowledge of God is what Gnostics and assorted mystics have sought from the beginning – thus, to become gods themselves.

A second posts proclaiming a “Nativity Fast” gives detailed directions for the practice of contemplative Lectio Divina. The devil is in the details, as this reveals some of the major problems with LD and contemplative practices in general.

This is a dangerous practice,  and can open one to direct demonic deception. To begin with, “Invoking” the Holy Spirit has no scriptural foundation. Jesus taught us: “In *THIS manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven…”

Note that proper bible study – exegesis, is relegated to an “introductory exercise”. We are told to “Create a space” in our hearts “for a new experience”…Then passages are “isolated” – taken out of context, and repeated like a mantra. As the passage in repeated we are instructed to be “expecting NEW illumination, New highlight, NEW understanding…”

Lastly we are told to be “receptive and open… Opening up our inner man for a download from heaven”. What we are not told is that this entire process factually amounts to a Christianized form of divination – all forms of which are strictly forbidden in God’s Word [Lev. 19:2] precisely because they bring one in contact with demonic entities.

Some relevant bible verses include:

1Cor. 4:6 – “… that you may learn in us not to think *BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN, that none of you may be puffed up…”

“You must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of… that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2Tim. 3:14-17

And, consider this:

“Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. Therefore you shall no longer envision futility nor practice divination; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” ‘ ” – Ezekiel 13:22-23

Dallas Theological Seminary Gone Contemplative?

The ministry of EmergentWatch began as a means to alert Christians to the infiltration of false teachings coming into the churches, under the radar of most – coming into the bookstores right in their local churches. EW published a number of bookstore surveys, searching for materials by known false teachers. After being exposed, two churches surveyed slapped a copyright violation claim against two of EW’s video presentations, exposing Calvary Chapel of Downey and Rick Warren’s Saddleback church. Both videos were subsequently removed.

Two Christian Seminaries were also examined in late 2013. Fuller Theological (With predictably bad results; See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCbS3Mwo07A), and Dallas Theological. The latter returned some alarming results, as it is widely know as a bastion of conservative Christianity.

A recent article by Lighthouse Trails explains:

“Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) has always maintained that while they teach Spiritual Formation, they only teach the “good” kind and that they are not a school that promotes contemplative spirituality. Lighthouse Trails has always challenged these suppositions. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago when Lighthouse Trails editors had some correspondence with two different DTS faculty members (one a dean) who insisted that DTS was not promoting contemplative spirituality…”

See the complete article here: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=23055

EmergentWatch did a Bookstore survey of the DTS online bookstore in November 2013, and published the results, showing hundreds of books and tapes by many known false teachers. Another survey was done on 7/21-22/2017, and shows that rather than the problem being corrected, it has gotten worse – and now includes authors such as Leonard Sweet, Henri Nouwen, Tony Campolo, Phyliss Tickle and other recognized heretical teachers. The bookstore survey is now in jpeg format.

The above results are of only a partial, and not a comprehensive survey – Yet, it certainly does appear that DTS, like so many other Christian institutions now, has been overrun with the spirit of this age.

 See also: Christian Bookstores – selling anything for profit? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTQH9TGun20