Saturday, May 11, 2013

CMA’s Seminary Students’ Mandatory Monastery Retreat at Graymoor, Garrison, NY

Podcast Two: “The Rationale for Disciple” from CMA Seminary’s “Personal Spiritual Formation” with Dr. Ronald Walborn (2005 at Delta Lakes Bible Conference)

Imagine your Christian seminary ministerial or youth pastor student being required to take a three-day retreat at a nearby monastery. Imagine their Dean stating “For our “Spiritual Formation” course we require our students to go to Graymoor Monastery at Garrison, NY. Imagine doing your “silence” and “centering prayer” in their retreat rooms, chapels, and gardens. What would this be like?

Well, let’s visit Graymoor via our computer. Look round its grounds. Inspect its statues and shrines.
Find its labyrinth and peace pole here: Look into what “Graymoor” really is here:

As you look round, you’ll read much about the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement or At-one-ment: Father Paul Wattson. Reading a bit of his bio you’ll learn that over a century ago Father Wattson needed a name for his friars. And the name came when he opened a Bible to the fifth chapter of Romans where he noticed the eleventh verse. This reads: “…we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” The last word of the verse immediately stood out as at-one-ment and thus the Society had its name. He wrote: “Pain can be healed, hatred can be turned to love, division can be turned to unity, The Church can and will be one.”

Read here about the term “at-one-ment.” The Graymoor web site states: “Since its inception in 1898, reconciliation and healing through atonement--the unity of men and women with God and with one another--has been the mission of the Friars’ work and ministries to people of every race, religion, and walk of life.”

Now, to continue your Graymoor Tour. View more here at: Here’s an online map too, , to help in your exploration. The first stop is a “Crucifixion Scene” at its entrance. Next, there’s a “triangular garden” complete with a “Shrine of Our Lady of the Atonement.”

You might wonder why Mary has such prominent shrines at Graymoor. Well, history tells us that Father Wattson claimed to have seen apparitions of Mary. Read about Graymoor’s Lady of Atonement in the article: “Our Lady of Atonement: Mother of Christian Unity” here at: Make sure to notice (toward the end of the article) where Br. Stephen Treat, O. Cist tells us what its symbolism means. Amazing!

Upon leaving this shrine site there’s St. Francis Convent II, Our Lady of Angels Church, St. John the Baptist Church, and Our Lady of the Atonement Retreat House. And then it seems that Graymoor just goes on and on with its churches, retreat centers, shrines, stores, gardens, and sacred spots. It’s even on the Appalachian Trail.

What a place to take impressionable young folks to. What a place to introduce them to all of the idolatry of Catholicism. What a place for a Dean to invite anyone to come and get apart to rest and be with the Lord. What a travesty!

Walborn, with his enthusiastic endorsement of Graymoor and its beauties, reminds me of contemplative Ruth Haley Barton who sits in the convent at the Loretto Center at her Transforming Center inviting us in for time apart. And as the scenes unfold you’ll notice a sign on one of the convent doors reading “Be still and know that I am!”

One might wonder how all of the folks there at Delta Lake Conference just sat there, and listened to Walborn’s glowing descriptions of what an incredibly beautiful place Graymoor was without just jumping up, and walking out. But evidently not, for the teaching went on for several more days, and not only that for two more years after that again. For in 2006, and 2007 Walborn announced once more that he takes his students on Graymoor retreats. What has happened to “discerning Christians?” Seems like, though, many are intent on turning right around and finding their “at-one-ment” right back in the waiting arms of Rome. And courses like Ron Walborn’s “Personal Spiritual Formation” with all its mystical Catholic resources, and prayers are conditioning them to make an easy journey right over into Catholicism with the blessing of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church and its Seminary Dean.

I would implore you, if you think Catholicism offers our evangelical students truth, to go to former Catholic Mike Gendron’s web site, and to read some of the information there. Pastor Mike tells what darkness is in Catholicism, and pleads with us as Christians to be aware of how much they need Jesus alone to be freed from their ties to its lies. See here:

Learn to Discern Granny Verse: John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”



Thursday, May 9, 2013

CMA’s Theological Seminary’s Dean Walborn Teaches “Centering Prayer” Techniques

Podcast 2: “The Rationale for Discipline” taught by Ron Walborn at Delta Lake Bible Conference 2005

“We’re gonna do a little exercise on Centering Prayer!”

The Dean, then, proceeds to define “centering prayer.” He says this prayer isn’t about a lot of words from us, and it’s not even about words coming from God. It’s about a silencing of our words, and verbiage always busily racing about in our minds.

The fear though, intones Walborn, is if we go into silence, it will be like “New Age Meditation.” Dr. Walborn states that in “New Age Meditation” the goal is “to empty your mind.” But, in “Christian Centering Prayer” the goal is to find “the mind of Christ.” As to why those in the New Age empty their minds, Walborn says, “I’m not sure why.”  “And they succeed!” (Emptying their minds.)     

Therefore, to pray, he explains, we need to calm our minds because our minds are “jabber boxes” thinking of what’s going to happen next, or lists of things we need to do. Now, the worst thing we can do, he instructs, is say “Stop it!” So if your mind jabbers at you say, “Thank you! I’ll remember that. Then, just let it go.”

Walborn, above, uses a phrase just about like a New Age practitioner does. Read more on a site called “Our Infinite Energy” where it says, “So how do we quiet the mind? … Ask it to be quiet. Acknowledge its strengths; move on from its limitations. Literally say, thank you mind, but you can be quiet now.”
Read here:

Walborn then continues, “Some of you may need to use a phrase (mantra) like “God loves me!” to stop your “jabber.” Others may want something a little meatier like “ Not my will, but thine be done.”

And he notes that the fear is what if when we get into “the silence” that something else comes. But Walborn soothes: “He’s a good God, would He give us a stone? He’s been waiting for you all this time to get your “jabbering mind” to be still.” And so begins the time “to center” and “to disarm.” He begins to sing.

Walborn, as you read above, during this session taught his listeners how to ready themselves to do centering prayer. Hear Walborn’s friend and lead pastor, Pete Scazzero to his former student Rich Villodas, do the same. Listen as Scazzero interviews Father William Meninger, a Trappist Monk, who then teaches the New Life Fellowship congregation to do “Centering Prayer.”

Read also here the history of “Centering Prayer.” See how it was revived by Keating, Pennington, and Meninger.

Matt Slick, a Christian apologist, writes an excellent short article on “Centering Prayer.” Read here! And it’s not just Christian apologists who warn against this prayer,
but here is a Catholic apologist, who also warns about the dangers of centering prayer. And here is one more excellent resource with many sites on the deception of centering prayer.

Perhaps, you counter, well Walborn is saying that his method will achieve “Christian Centering Prayer.”
But, he does the very same techniques all of the others do; and he points you on the first podcast to reference after reference which encourages practicing this prayer. You may also contend that Walborn uses such spiritual words, and seems to genuinely worship. While he may do this remember how he is leading his listeners, and how later on they can easily use these techniques to go deeper and deeper. And how sad is that, that Mr. Walborn has led unsuspecting, undiscerning persons into such dangerous territory.

If you still aren’t convinced I challenge you to go to any TM website, of which there are many, and see how closely “Centering Prayer” is modeled on “TM.”

Perhaps, Dr. Walborn should read these words of Ray Yungen, and the late Dr. Paul Bubna, President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Yungen wrote: “The answer to the contemplative prayer movement is simple. A Christian is complete in Christ. The argument that contemplative prayer can bring a fuller measure of God’s love, … is the epitome of dishonor to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. It is, in essence, anti-Christian.” And Dr. Bubna wrote: “Knowing Christ is a journey of solid theological understanding. It is the Holy Spirit illuminating the scriptures to our darkened minds and hearts that give birth to the wonder of conditional love.” Yungen continues: “Those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them do not need the silence. It is one thing to find a quiet place to pray (which Jesus did) but quite another to go into an altered state of consciousness (which Jesus never did). The Christian hears the voice of Jehovah through the Holy Spirit, not through contemplative prayer. Again, Jesus made it clear He is the one who initiates this process, not man.”(John 14:15-17) From: A Time of Departing pp.132-133.

Learn to Discern Words from “Glossary of Terms” at the end of A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen:

Centering/Centering Prayer: Another term for contemplative meditation (going deep within your center) A type of meditation being promoted … under the guise of prayer.

Contemplative Prayer: Going beyond thought by the use of repeated words or phrases.

Mantra: Word or words repeated either silently or verbally to induce an altered state of consciousness.

Sacred Space: Either a physical spot where one goes to engage in a mystical practice or the actual silence or the state of being during the mystical experience.

The silence: Absence of normal thought.

Learn to Discern Granny Verse: “Also of your own selves shall men (women) arise, speaking perverse things, to draw the disciples away after them.” Acts 20:30











Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pete’s Pick: Ruth Haley Barton’s Pursuing God’s Will Together

Pete Scazzero, lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, once a CMA plant, is into all things “contemplative.”

Pete’s church could be called “The Poster Child for a Church That’s Gone Home to Rome.” Ken Silva, apologist, termed Pete a “Protholic.” (Protestant-Catholic) And Silva is so right for Pete latches onto everything Catholic while still saying he is an “evangelical.”

Pete’s pick of Ruth Haley Barton’s book Pursuing God’s Will Together is no exception. Pete’s endorsement is right up front. Pete wrote: “Fabulous! I look forward to giving copies to our staff and elders…”

Now how “fabulous” is this book? Oh, the title sounds quite innocent. But, the book itself--it is filled and overflowing with Roman Catholic contemplatives from Ignatius of Loyola founder of the Jesuits to Father Richard Rohr founder of a the Center for Action and Contemplation.

How can one discern that Ruth’s book is not what an evangelical pastor or leader ought to be reading?

Let’s “Look Inside.” The first stop will always be the cover. Next, will be the endorsers which Pete Scazzero, pastor, New Life Fellowship Church, and author, The Emotionally Healthy Church is one.

Let’s move onward to the chapters. Barton begins each with a quote from a contemplative. Chapter one begins, right out of the gate, with a Richard Rohr quote from Everything Belongs. If you are a discerning reader this quote will stop you cold! Rohr, a dissident Roman Catholic priest, teaches such things as “Enneagrams,” and “Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening.” Go to Rohr’s CAC and find out for yourself; if you are unable to discern that this center is anything but Christian stop right now. Ask why any Christian would even want to be quoting or alluding to anything Rohr says or ever wrote!

Chapter two starts with a quote from an “Ernest Larkin” that is Ernest E. Larkin, O. Carm. Seems like Barton forgot to add the end to Larkin’s name. Who is Larkin? He’s a Carmelite priest who gives retreats and seminars on Carmelite Theology and Contemplative Prayer. He’s written a book called Contemplative Prayer for Today. Why would an evangelical lace her books with quotes from Roman Catholic priests?

Perhaps, for one because Barton studied at the Shalem Center under nun, and Zen teacher Rosemary Dougherty among others. Speaking of Zen, recall oft quoted Monk Thomas Merton was into Zen too.

Chapter three has a huge quote to note from a Thomas R. Kelly, Quaker, and author of a Testament of Devotion. Kelly writes of a “Divine Center” within each of us. Sound New Age! It is. Sound like Monk Thomas Merton. It is. If all have this “Light within” us through meditative prayer or contemplative prayer anyone can find their “true self.” See the link below.

Learn to Discern Granny Pointer #1: Be curious! Don’t just read an author’s quote and not know who they are, and what they stand for. Look it up. It only takes just typing in their name, and pushing “Search!” If it’s a writer like Ruth Haley Barton using a quote by an unknown author type the author’s name, and “contemplative prayer” after it. This often brings instant results.

Learn to Discern Granny Pointer #2: Read the end notes. There you’ll find even more info about quotes given. Never neglect reading the “Notes!”

I could go on and on in this book, as in other Barton books, digging out quotes and writings of Roman Catholic theologians of all stripes. With each name you come across look them up, note them, and the next book/writer that uses them you will immediately recall here is a person that’s suspect, and here is a “red flag” that says “Discernment Needed!”

Learn to Discern Granny Verse: “Certain men (women) have crept in unawares.” From Jude 4