Friday, September 27, 2013

Christian & Missionary Alliance Theological Seminary: Not Your Grandfather's Seminary!

The Christian & Missionary Alliance Theological Seminary: Not Your Grandfather's Seminary!

ATS has changed radically, as have many other Christian colleges and seminaries, being flooded with postmodern or Emergent teachings as well as mysticism and contemplative spiritual practices. 
And because of these teachings it is imperative for students, parents, supporters, alumni,  pastors, and missionaries to look into these teachings to learn exactly what's happening at an alarming rate inside Christian academia.  For more information on Christian colleges/seminaries which promote
Emergent and spiritual formation practices please read booklet "Epidemic of Apostasy."  and

To begin it is important to become acquainted with  Dr. Ron Walborn who has been leading the Alliance Seminary, and Nyack College into all things contemplative.  Thus, the purpose of this article is to document how Walborn and his colleagues have been saturating the seminary and the college with spiritual formation, and all its spiritual disciplines. While doing this he and other colleagues have been teaching books, courses, and practices that are leading their students, and others into Roman Catholicism with New Age overtones.

This paper will also show how Walborn is connected to his former student and lead Pastor Rich Villodas of the heavily contemplative New Life Fellowship church; how he's associated with Adventures in Missions (AIM) and its Emergent leader Seth Barnes; how he's acquainted with New Apostolic Reformation prophets through his former Redding, Ca. church; how he's close friends with Dr. Rob Reimer of a contemplative CMA church; and how he's part of the Global Leadership Inc. (supported/endorsed by Leighton Ford) working with Dr. Martin Sanders.   Here are the facts:

Dr.  Ron (Ronald) Walborn,  Dean of the Alliance Theological Seminary

Walborn's Bio:

*  Walborn is the dean of the Alliance Theological Seminary.
*  Walborn is the head/chair of the Pastoral Ministries Dept. at Nyack College.
*  Walborn is a board member of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church.
*  Walborn was a pastor at Risen King Community Church in Redding, California.
*  Walborn was educated at Nyack, ATS, and Fuller Theological Seminary.
Update January 25, 2015:  See my newest blog: "ATS Dean Ron Walborn Recommends Bill Johnson's Bethel Church Podcasts for Pastors."

Walborn's Wife-Wanda Walborn:

*  Wanda Walborn, too, has played a significant role in helping introduce Nyack students to spiritual formation.
*  Wanda Walborn has been the head of the "Spiritual Formation Department" for eleven years.
*  Wanda Walborn has taught spiritual formation classes at Nyack.
*  Wanda Walborn has written Introduction to Spiritual Formation (2011).
*  Wanda Walborn has spoken at various seminars and training sessions with Ron.
*  Wanda Walborn has also been helping lead "Women's Certificate Program 2013-14-Empower Program" (Metro District CMA) with credit at college/ATS including Bible/theological studies;  spiritual formation; mandatory three day retreat; and "Soul Care" Mentoring.

How can we know if the dean is into these contemplative things? Matthew 7:20 says,
"By their fruits (spiritual formation practices, centering prayer, monastery retreats) you can know them."

Walborn's Personal Spiritual Formation:

Walborn teaches an eighteen-part course called: "Personal Spiritual Formation."
*  Walborn requires that all students take "Spiritual Formation PMN 346."
*  Walborn stipulates that students take required retreats to Roman Catholic Graymoor Monastery, Garrison, NY to practice stillness and solitude. In "A Bible, Journal, Pen, & Pillow" a former Nyack student describes his weekend away at Graymoor Monastery.  Of that weekend he wrote, "Over the course of the weekend our mentors  took us all over the sprawling grounds of this beautiful facility.  Leaving us only with our Bibles, our journals, and a pen we were given six hours to sit and soak with Jesus.  My mentor had given me a specific passage of scripture to soak on that day. ...  Ten years later I have returned to Graymoor for a few days of soaking ..."  Here again, we meet another of what I might dub one of Walborn's "monastery men."
*  Walborn endorses spiritual disciplines as "Centering Prayer."  Here's what "centering prayer" really is:
*  Walborn taught these podcasts during a three period from 2005-2007 at Delta Lake Bible Camp.
Listen to these eighteen podcasts here:
Note!  On the internet page notice the photo that accompanies the podcast list: "Two nuns" walking up steep steps.
Update March 2014:  These Delta Lake Podcasts were removed after I wrote a letter to Dr. John Stumbo at the CMA Headquarters.  However, this material continues to be taught. 

"By their fruits (contemplative course books/ personal book lists) you can know them."

Walborn's Personal Spiritual Formation Course Book List/Book Endorsements:

Walborn endorses the following contemplative books (among many others) for this course:
The Sacred Romance (John Eldridge/Brent Curtis); Wild at Heart; Journey of Desire; & Waking the Dead (Eldridge); "Anything and Everything Brennan Manning (Roman Catholic Priest)": The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Signature of Jesus, A Glimpse of Jesus; Abba's Child ;
Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Discipline (M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.)*;
The Return of the Prodigal (Roman Catholic Priest Henri Nouwen)*;  & Into Abba's Arms (Dr. Sandra Wilson).
*  Walborn lent his support to Dr. James P. Danaher endorsing two of his books along with heretical Father Richard Rohr.  He also allowed Danaher to teach Rohr's mystical book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.  He again endorsed another contemplative  Barnes' book as well as AIM.  And still another contemplative endorsement by Walborn has also been given to Dr. Rob Reimer.

*  Read my article: "Red Flag This: Ruth Haley Barton & Self!" to find out why Mulholland, Rohr and Nouwen present great deception!  See Villodas' Mulholland comment below.
*  Read: Brennan Manning's "New Monks"& Their Dangerous Contemplative Monasticism" by John Craddock to find out who Manning is.

"By their fruits (teaching of, use of materials, retreat requirements) you can know them."

 Some SF (Spiritual Formation) Courses at ATS:

*  SF 503  "Initiation in Spiritual Formation" (Year 1)  Required retreats.
*  SF 603  "Field Education" (Year 2)  Includes mentoring.
*  SF 703  "Spiritual Formation Capstone" (Year 3)
*  Spiritual Formation Teacher Jan Dale:  Courses Taught/Books Required:
    -Courses: Initiation in Spiritual Formation/ Spiritual Formation Capstone
    -Some Books for SF 503: Spiritual Formation Workbook (James Bryan Smith); The Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence); Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster); What's Your God Language (Myra Perrine); Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Pete Scazzero); & The Deeper Journey (M. Robert Mulholland).  Note:  On a book of choice the students could choose "Tozer."  I noticed in some of these classes whenever there were controversial books if one throws in a little Tozer, or A.B. Simpson this makes all the rest look good.
    -Some Books for SF 703: Live Your Calling (Brennfleck); The Call ((Os Guinness); The Return of the Prodigal Son (Henri Nouwen); The Power of Mentoring (Martin Sanders); Listening to God: Spiritual Formation in Congregations (John Ackerman); & Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered (James Wilhoit).

Some SF (Spiritual Formation) Courses at the College:

*  PMN 101  Intro to Spiritual Formation
*  Info from Fall 2012 Intro to Spiritual Formation Syllabus:
    -  Books to be read:  NIV Bible; Outrageous Love, Transforming Power (Terry Wardle);
    30 Days (Nicky Gumble); Experiencing God Through Prayer (Jeanne Guyon); Introduction to Spiritual Formation (Wanda Walborn); and The Shack (William P. Young).
    -  Bible Verses to memorize:  Notice three come from The Message Bible which is filled with New Age references!
    -  Students are required using resources given to write a 3 and 1/2 year Spiritual Formation Plan and present it to class as an oral presentation.
*  PMN 346  Personal Spiritual Formation

Worship Art & Disciplines Course CD701.RA:

*  Instructors:  Amy Davis, Kelvin Walker
*  Books:  Emerging Worship (Dan Kimball, David Crowder & Sally Morgan); The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn & Wintertime (Phyllis Tickle); Worship Old & New (Robert Webber); and Introduction to Christian Worship (James White).  Note:  These authors are all well-known Emergents.  Pyllis Tickle, e.g., is often coupled with heretic Brian McLaren.

"By their fruits (associations with, endorsements of, preaching at) you can know them."

Walborn's Connection to Contemplative New Life Fellowship Church: Pastor Pete Scazzero & Pastor Rich Villodas:

*  Walborn has spoken at services at Pete Scazzero's New Life Fellowship Church.  Walborn, in fact, has just recently spoken in the 8-25-13 morning service being introduced by Pete Scazzero.  Pete gives him a warm welcome mentioning what close ties the college and seminary have had with New Life over their past twenty-six years.  He also mentions that Pastor Rich Villodas has been really influenced by Nyack, and in particular with Ron Walborn.  He tells the audience to be sure to check out more about the college and seminary after the service with Walborn.  Walborn begins with saying. "It is always great to be at New Life."  He says, there are famous churches in New York, but that New Life makes Jesus famous! **
*  Walborn has had close contact between NLF and Nyack.
*  Walborn has had both Scazzero and Villodas preach at chapels/meetings at Nyack.
*  Walborn welcomed Villodas this winter to preach Deeper Life meetings; and Walborn, his wife, Dr. Mike Scales, & Villodas are pictured in a photo beaming with their arms round each other.  
*  Walborn has given support to Villodas mentoring him, and naming him one of the 2013 Alumni of the Year.

**  The sermon here is not problematic; but it is the association with this church and these pastors and all they represent that makes it truly tragic!  And it is Walborn's legacy that he is leaving in having helped ready this young pastor-Rich Villodas- to assume his role as lead pastor teaching from the books and from the experiences that began at Nyack.  Surely apostasy has crept in unnoticed as Jude has so clearly warned us of!  I wonder are you aware of this, and are you doing your part to alert those in authority about what is taking place?  If not recall James 4:17 KJV that says: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin!"  The NIV says it this way: "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

By his fruits (associations, sermons, friends, books, blogs, twitter, spiritual disciplines, mentors) you can know them."

Villodas & His Nyack & NLF Connections:

*  Villodas is lead pastor (formerly associate pastor) of New Life Fellowship Church, Queens, NY.
*  Villodas is an alumnus of Nyack College (2003) and ATS (2009).
*  Villodas has preached at Nyack's Deeper Life Series sponsored by Nyack's Office of Spiritual Formation. ( Feb. 2013)
*  Villodas is very fond of Walborn considering him a close friend and mentor.
*  Villodas has been groomed by Pastor Pete Scazzero (former lead pastor at New Life) and Dr. Ron Walborn  to practice spiritual disciplines which lean heavily into Roman Catholicism.
*  Villodas has blogged, and twittered much about his affection for contemplative  practices, persons, and books.

 Examples of Villodas' Activities:

*  Villodas ( May, 2010) told of a "Day Alone with God Retreat" at RC Bishop Molloy Retreat House where he led thirty New Life Fellowship folks in "lectio divina" or "holy reading;" and an exploration of the "retreat grounds."
*  Villodas (June, 2010) in "My Recent Trip to a Trappist Monastery" wrote: " Last week, I went on my annual monastery retreat.  This is the second time that I attended St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, MA. ...  It's been my conviction since I was a student at Nyack College that the disciplines of solitude, silence and prayer are essential to the life of a follower of Jesus. ..."
*  Villodas (August 2011) blogged,  "Actually, monasticism and desert father spirituality has been a love of my life since my days in college. ...  For the last three years I have spent time in St. Joseph's abbey ...  I spend 5-7 days hanging out with the monks."
Villodas interviewed Roman Catholic Father William Meninger, famed teacher of centering prayer, at New Life Fellowship Church.  (Fall 2011, 2012)  See "Living Prayerful Lives:"
*  Villodas (2012 "Yes Our Pastors Get Paid to Pray and Rest" noted: "Just a reminder that we have DAWG (Day Alone with God) tomorrow. ... Here are some guidelines I encourage: ...  Another option is to bring a book which focuses on the inner life of prayer ... Books from authors like
Henri Nouwen, Merton, Benner, Rohr, ..."
*  Villodas listed his best books on a "Favorites Page"  which has numerous Roman Catholic/Emergent connections.
*  Villodas (Feb. 2013) tweeted Pope Benedict's Lenten remarks.  Villodas wrote,  "For the last ten years I have read through the works of great Catholic theologians.  They have so much to teach evangelicals."  He also recorded: " ... I have enjoyed reading some of the Pontifex works.  He's quite the theologian."
*  Villodas  (April 2013) attended "The Academy for Spiritual Formation" where he heard contemplative authors Marjorie Thompson and Robert Mulholland. Villodas mused,  "I first heard of Robert Mulholland as a student at Nyack College.  His book, Invitation to a Journey was one of the first books on spiritual formation that I came across."  He also said,  "The overall thrust ... focused on rhythms, spiritual formation practices and uncovering the relationship between our 'false selves' and 'true selves in Christ.'"  (See my blog: "Red Flag This: Ruth Haley Barton & Self!") Villodas continued, "I took over twenty pages of notes.  I'll be processing this for the foreseeable future."
* Villodas also wrote from the retreat :  "Heard lectures on contemplation and the false self.  Really impacted my life!"
*  Villodas (April 2013)  tweeted, "So sad to hear Brennan Manning (Roman Catholic priest about whom Walborn said on his podcast, "Anything and everything Manning!") died 2day.  For the last 12 yrs has been a top 5 "mentor" to me thru his books.  Thx for everything Brennan!"
*  Villodas (April 2013) retweeted a quote from the new Pope Francis.
*  Villodas (June 2013 "My Story and Thoughts about New Life Fellowship ...") wrote, as he was transitioning into lead pastor, "When I was a college student, I spent a significant amount of time reading through the sayings of the Desert Fathers and monastic writers.  The commitment to prayer, silence and solitude has shaped me throughout the years."

Here is a must see documentary on "centering prayer" & its connection to  the New Age, Yoga, TM, far Eastern religions, and ultimately to occultism.  This supports all I have written in this paper, and in my other blogs.
Please view, and share!

Rich Villodas' Connection to Manhattan Pastor Drew Hyun:

*  Hyun was an assistant pastor at New Life along with Villodas.
*  Hyun is a good friend of Villodas.
*  Hyun accompanied Villodas to St. Joseph's Abbey/ other retreats.
*  Hyun has spoken at a Nyack Chapel.
*  Hyun admires Father Richard Rohr, met him at CAC, and shared his deep admiration with Villodas.
*  Hyun looks up to David Jennings, V.P. of Nyack, as an outstanding leader.

"By their (books, blogs, twitter, seminars, retreats, associations, recommendations, and so much more) you can know them."

Pete Scazzero and His Connection to the CMA & Nyack:

Pete and Geri Scazzero established New Life Fellowship as a CMA plant.
*  Pete and Geri Scazzero have written a series of contemplative books ( The Emotionally Healthy Church & Emotionally Healthy Spirituality) read by the CMA, and the college.
*  Pete and Geri Scazzero practice spiritual disciplines associated with Roman Catholicism.
*  Pete and Geri Scazzero preach and teach all things contemplative traveling (Now with Bill
 Hybel's Willow Creek) round the globe sharing deceptive teachings.
*  Pete is mentored by Leighton Ford who is deep into mystical contemplative teachings.

Here's a totally contemplative and New Age sermon Scazzero recently preached.  It is entitled:
"Relaxing from the Deep Center!"  Alarm bells ought to be going off , and red flags ought to be flying just by reading the title.  Try typing in those very words, and see what kind of New Age information comes up!  In this sermon Scazzero even shows someone doing "yoga" up on the screen!Watch here:
Reader, I consider Pete Scazzero's "New Life Fellowship Church" (once a CMA plant) the poster child or the poster church, if you will, for all things in a church that has gone totally into spiritual formation via Roman Catholicism, and even New Age paganism.  And in turn I consider Rich Villodas, the poster boy or the poster pastor, for a young man who has gone whole heartedly into all things contemplative.  The saddest thing of all is that here is a young man, bright and passionate and so likeable, who has trusted his life and his education into the affable and well-meaning, but badly deceived, hands of  mentors like Walborn and Scazzero; and this is the end result.  This is but one example of a student who went to Nyack, and was subjected to being immersed in these spiritual disciplines which include monasteries, retreats, silence, solitude, Catholic priests and more. And here is the result--sad, sad, sad!  Dear reader, look into these deceptions by going to apologetic web sites of former Roman Catholics who came out of the bondage of good works, worshipping the Eucharist, worshipping Mary, and all the idolatry of  Roman Catholicism and see why they are so disheartened to see "evangelicalism" marching right back home into the arms of Rome!  

Here is a web site of Evangelist Mike Gendron, who was saved out of Catholicism in his thirties, and who has a tremendous desire to see Roman Catholics find Jesus as their all-sufficient sacrifice for sin.  He also has a deep burden to point out to evangelicals that Catholics are not Christians if they have never understood the gospel, and are trying to reach heaven through the teaching of the Vatican.  Please read and listen here:

A second powerful web site is the "Berean Beacon," of former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett, which helps Evangelicals understand exactly what Roman Catholics believe; and how they need to be saved by grace through faith in order to become Christians.  Find here:;_ylt=ArRuzvGyszp268UVOkcWs0abvZx4?fr=yfp-t-122-s&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&p=berean%20beacon%20ministries

A third apologetic Christian site "The Berean Call" hosted by former Roman Catholic, Tom McMahon, has countless articles and programs on the dangers of spiritual formation, Roman Catholicism, and many more topics.  Check it out here:;_ylt=AnLqnivLukp.A2rURnVYtu6bvZx4?p=The+Berean+Call&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-122

"By their fruits (contemplative spiritual formation practices) you can know them."

David Jennings' Connection to Nyack/New Life Fellowship Church:

* David Jennings is a former executive pastor of New Life Fellowship Church.
* David Jennings is the current Executive Director at New Life Health Center
* David Jennings is the Executive VP & Treasurer at Nyack College.

"By their fruits (endorsements, Emergent acquaintances, practices, books) you can know them."

Walbon's Connection to AIM (Adventures in Missions)/Seth Barnes: 

*  Walborn has been a speaker at the World Race Training Camps.
*  Walborn has recently trained World Racers with contemplative Dr. Rob Reimer.  See
blog: "CMA's Rob Reimer Reads Ruth Haley Barton to Feed His Soul."
*  Walborn has spoken on various Emergent/contemplative topics: e.g. "The Contemplative Instinct" associated with "focus on the interior" and "listening prayer."
*  Walborn has participated in AIM's BreakThru Conferences in 2008 & 2009 speaking with Wanda
Walborn, Seth Barnes, Andrew Sherman, & Michael Hindes.
*  Walborn has given his endorsement to AIM's program.  See here:
Walborn wrote:  "Adventures in Mission does an amazing job of blending healthy discipleship and spiritual formation with Holy Spirit empowered missiology.  ...  I strongly recommend to you the powerful ministry of Adventures in Missions."
*  Walborn has endorsed Barnes' book Kingdom Journeys: The Lost Spiritual Discipline (2012).
Walborn said:  "...  I was convicted, challenged and encouraged as I read this great book.  I have another new tool for Kingdom growth: Kingdom Journeys."
-- Dr. Ron Walborn, Dean of Alliance Theological Seminary and the College of Bible and Christian Ministry at Nyack College

Note, too, who else endorses this book!  Dissident Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
For much more on Rohr and his various endorsements -including Dr. James P. Danaher-
see older blogs on "Father Richard Rohr's Book: The Naked Now at Nyack."  Also see:
"Red Flag This:  Ruth Haley Barton & Self!"

To know AIM is to know its leader and workers; Seth Barnes from his blog "Radical Living" makes crystal clear who, and what he endorses!

"By their fruits (Heretical Roman Catholic priest/book; New Age guru, & so many more) you can know them."

Quotes from Seth Barnes' "Radical Living" Blog:

12-13-2007  "Richard Rohr: A Conversation"

Barnes recorded: "I met Richard Rohr at a retreat ... for an extended conversation.  I'd read a few of his books and found his insights profound. ...  The first book of his I'd read, Adam's Return, helped me understand the importance of initiating men.  ...  I told him about The World Race and asked him for advice about how to design it to initiate young people.  ... Another of Rohr's books, Everything Belongs, has been a huge influence in my thinking about how we grow. ... We talked about ... (that) we need to give God undistracted space in our schedule so that he can speak to us. ...  At the end ... I asked Rohr to pray for me.  He held both of my hands ... and gave me a wonderful blessing.  Since he is ... a Franciscan, I suppose some of that great saint's anointing filtered into my spirit.  I don't really know how it works, but I'll take whatever I can get."

 3-3-2011:  "Our Deepest Fear" Poem by well-known New Age author: Marianne Williamson.

For an in depth look into who Seth Barnes is, and to what his organization involves please read
Claris Van Kuiken's "An Open Letter to Ingrid Schlueter, VCY Crosstalk America Concerning Adventure's In Mission's (AIM)"
Or order her book: Missions, Mysticism, & Magic (2012) here:

Walborn's Connection to Risen King Community Church, Redding, Ca./New Apostolic
Reformation's Prophet's Bill Johnson, & Tim Fox:

*  Walborn was a former pastor at Risen King Community.
*  Walborn was at Risen King in February 2013 for a "Kingdom Come!- Redigging the Wells of the Supernatural" Conference.
*  Walborn  & Reimer are to be at Risen King February 2014 for another "Kingdom Come!"
Conference.  New this year is the addition of Spiritual Director Sarah Herring.
*  Walborn had a special meeting with Prophet Tim Fox (2013) who is associated with radical New Apostolic Reformation Prophet Bill Johnson.   See link at right to "Risen King Church" of which Fox is a member.
*  Walborn preached in 2010 with Bethel Church's Bill Johnson, and others at a May 2010 "Kingdom Power Conference."  For just how radical and how controversial Bill Johnson is see:
*  Walborn taught in Feb. 21-28, 2013 a "Kingdom Holiness" class in Redding with 30 some ATS
students.  Worship at this class included Bethel Church's Jeremy Riddle.

Walborn's Connection to Global Leadership, Inc. & Dr. Martin Sanders:

Dr. Martin Sanders Info:

*  Sanders is the Director of Global Leadership, Inc.
*  Sanders is the Director of Doctoral Programs at ATS.
*  Sanders was interim CMA pastor at Living Christ Church.
*  Sanders works closely with six couples including: Ron & Wanda Walborn; Rob & Jen Reimer; and Chuck & Ingrid Davis.

Global Leadership Activities:

*  Global Leadership sponsors Global Leadership Development Conferences.
*  Global Leadership sponsors "Soul Care" Conferences.
*  Global Leadership sponsors Inner Healing, Breakthroughs, & Holy Spirit Conferences.
*  Global Leadership sponsors ATS Seminary and Doctoral Students Programs.
*  Global Leadership sponsors Missional Community Seminars.

"By their fruits (endorsers, partners, books, practices) you shall know them."

Global Leadership Link with Leighton Ford Ministries:

*  Global Leadership has partnered with Leighton Ford Ministries.!__resources/vstc1=partners
*  Global Leadership has a large Leighton Ford endorsement on one page.!__ministries/blank
*  Global Leadership has had Leighton Ford speak at several functions.
*  Global Leadership has had Leighton Ford endorse two of Dr. Sander's books.

To understand why Leighton Ford and his ministry are into contemplative spirituality please consider the following facts:

*  Leighton Ford was once an evangelist with the Billy Graham Association.
*  Leighton Ford has now turned to all things mystical, and contemplative.
*  Leighton Ford writes for InterVarsity Press publisher of mystical/contemplative books.
*  Leighton Ford has written e.g. The Attentive Life reviewed by Gary Gilley here:

Benner, Benner, Benner & More Benner!

Dr. Martin Sanders & Dr. David G. Benner:

Small Sampling of Benner!
*  Spring 2009:  "Emotional & Spiritual Development Weekend"
*  Books Required: Reggie McNeal (Get a Life); Read one: David Benner (Care of Souls;
The Gift of Being Yourself; Healing Emotional Wounds).
*  Fall 2013: "Christ's Mission & Spiritual Gifts for the "Empowering Women Program"-The Gift of Being Yourself (Selected Bibliography).
*  Fall 2008: SF 505:  Sanders/Reimer: The Gift of Being Yourself;  SF 770RA Sanders: The Gift of Being Yourself; Care of  Souls; Spring 2009: SF772.RA Sanders: Care of Souls; The Gift of Being Yourself; Healing Emotional Wounds; Fall 2009: CD 702 Sanders/Russ: Strategic Pastoral Counseling; SF 505.RB Sanders: The Gift of Being Yourself;   
Spiritual Formation Jan Dale Professor & Benner:   Dale too has a list of Benner books as well as many more contemplative books of every stripe.
And who is David G. Benner?  The story is a sad one for once David G. Benner was raised in a godly home--a Plymouth Brethren home in Canada--a home like I too was raised in.  But today Brenner, by his own words, tells us how far he has fallen.  For Dr. Benner, enamored by Father Richard Rohr like so many others I have written about, is now a Master Teacher, and contributor  to the Oneing Journal at the heretical "Rohr Institute's Living School for Action & Contemplation."  Please read his stories here:   Also see: "Professional Bio," "My Family," and "Reader's Questions" at the same site. 

Recall!  Speaking of Fr. Richard Rohr that Dr. Ron Walborn has endorsed Danaher books, and a Seth Barnes' book along with Richard Rohr.  I challenge you look into Rohr!!  No one who calls himself a true Christian should be associating themselves in any way with his totally heretical beliefs!  

Wanda Walborn & Benner:
*Fall 2012:  Spiritual Formation Course Assignment for "Empowering Women Certificate Program":  Read: (David G. Benner): The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery.  Write a brief summary of the book and what was helpful to you in your spiritual journey.

Benner Again!

November 2013 Update:  Wanda Walborn/Spiritual Formation Empower Program Component:  Again Wanda highly recommends the book The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner as an excellent follow up for your spiritual journey.  Would that Wanda would find out what David G. Benner really is all about, for Benner's very own words should awaken discerning believers to BEWARE of Benner, period! 

I would end by pleading once more, if you are truly a caring CMA Christian rise up and do something before it is forever too late!!  Remember Jude warns that certain men have crept in unnoticed, and that we must be earnest contenders for the faith!  How about you?  Are you intentionally contending for the faith?  Or do you choose to ignore this apostasy?  May we all intend to contend, and to stand for the truth regardless of cost!

Learn to Discern Granny Verse:  Jude wrote:  "I found it necessary to write you an appeal, that you vigorously defend the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints."  From Jude 3

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Father Richard Rohr's Book: The Naked Now at Nyack

Richard Rohr's The Naked Now at Nyack

At Nyack Christian and Missionary Alliance College in Nyack, NY in the fall of 2011 Dr. James P. Danaher, professor and chair of the Philosophy Department, taught Father Richard Rohr's The Naked Now to his Nyack students.  Not only did he teach this heretical book, but Danaher dared to do it on You Tube for the whole world to see.

Clutching the book in his hand,  Danaher read aloud sections of The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See to his students.  Stopping to discuss each part he continuously endorsed all Rohr wrote.  He especially wanted to emphasize to his students that they rid themselves of all or nothing thinking, and let themselves be open to the "Yes!"  He tells the students they are "now here, (New Age for "nowhere") or in the past" but where we want to go "is to get out of our minds" so we can "just be present."  And how can one "be in the moment?"  Danaher answers: "Through contemplative prayer."

To enable the reader understand who Danaher is, and why the above scenario is so frightening the following facts will help paint the picture:

Dr. James P. Danaher, Chair Philosophy Department, Nyack College!search/profile/person?personId=139293042&targetid=profile

Wrote:  Eyes that See, Ears that Hear: Perceiving Jesus in a Postmodern Context (2006)

Published by: Roman Catholic Liguori Publications/ Redemptorists
*  Endorsed by: Father Richard Rohr
*  Quoted by:  Dr. John H. Armstrong, Wheaton College

In his article "Our Perception of Reality" (February 16, 2011) Armstrong glowingly praises Danaher for abandoning the structure and the authority of modernity, and seeking to be freed of its rigidity of knowing exact truths to truth that is found in beauty and story.  He wrote,  "If you are confused ...
if you are a student... a 20 or thirty something who wonders if you can remain a Christian based upon how you were taught to perceive the world... if you older ... read Danaher."  Armstrong continues on answering the question as to why everyone should read this book.  He says, "You have heard ... how bad postmodernism is for the Christian faith, equating the word with liberalism, denial of Christ and rejection of Biblical authority. Question that premise with all your mind ..."  He then emphatically says he has read the book twice, and he will read it again.  It has become, he emphasizes, one of the most important books in his library.  He underlines the words: "I cannot encourage you too strongly to get this book."

Wrote:  Article: "The Postmodern Gospel" (January, 2006)
Interview: "My Conversion to Life in Christ" (2006) 
*  Critiqued by: Robert N. Wilkin, author and editor of Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
*  Comment about: Wilkin's paper "The Gospel According to Evangelical Postmodernism" 

In his article intro Wilkin wrote: "Evangelical Postmoderns embrace doubt. They aren't sure God exists. ... the Bible is God's Word, ... Jesus is the Savior...there is life after death, ... that they have everlasting life ... Evangelical Postmoderns put a high premium on experience. ..."

About Danaher's article Wilkin commented: "Note that there is no mention here at all of any benefits of the Postmodern gospel beyond the grave.  What Danaher talks about is "an ever greater opportunity to order our lives."  Wilkin continued: "Note too that Danaher denies any universal or objective truth.  If our truth is not universal, this implies there is another truth out there that allows other religions to find a way to order their lives around a different person, maybe a Mohammed or Buddha.

About Danaher's interview Wilkin said:  "Note what is missing here: no reference to faith in Christ, no reference to eternal life or justification, and no reference to anything related to eternity."
Wilkins also wrote:  "Note what is present here: a repeated emphasis on 'experiences with God,'
repeated discussion of 'a transformed life,' 'a radically new and different life' is the aim, and surrender is the condition of this new life."

Wrote:  Jesus After Modernity: A Twenty-First-Century Critique of Our Modern Concept of Truth and the Truth of the Gospel (2011)

*  Published by: Cascade Books
*  Endorsed by: Father Richard Rohr, Dr. John H. Armstrong, and Dr. Ronald Walborn
*  Back Cover Summary:  During modernity we came to believe truth as objective, certain, and precise.   Mathematics became the model.  This then led to how we saw truth when we presented the gospel.  Jesus' teachings, on the other hand, were often vague, ambiguous, and contradictory.
Fortunately, says Danaher, now our understanding of the human condition has debunked this once held notion of truth.  As a consequence this has freed us to rethink truth more in line with what Jesus said, and in line with what we now know as truth given the limits of our human condition.
*  Reviewed by:  Armstrong, on, once more strongly recommends this book.                

Wrote: Contemplative Prayer: A Theology for the 21st Century (2011)

*  Published by:  Cascade Books   
Foreword written by: Dr. John H. Armstrong, Wheaton College
*  Endorsed by:  Father Richard Rohr
*  Endorsed by: Dr. Ronald Walborn the Dean of the Alliance Theological Seminary, Nyack, NY
*  Acknowledged:  Michael Scales (President, Nyack College); David Jennings (VP College); David Turk (Provost of Nyack); Ronald Walborn (Dean of Seminary); & Fernando Arzola (Dean of Nyack's Arts and Sciences). 
Thanked:  "For Richard Rohr, 'His words always made me feel I was not alone.'"
*  Nyack NYC Scholars Symposium, Feb. 3, 2011:  Danaher presents his book.

Update November 2013:

Writing: The Second Truth: A Brief Introduction to the Intellectual and Spiritual Journey that is Philosophy  (To be published: March 2014)

*  Published by: Paragon House
*  Endorsed by:  Father Richard Rohr
*  Endorsed by:  Maggie Ross
*  Description:

Enraptured by Rohr:

  *  Danaher spent eleven weeks at Rohr's "Center for Action & Contemplation" (CAC) in 2008.
  *  Danaher was an intern at CAC working on Special Projects/Stillpoint. 
  *  Danaher's summer session mentioned by Nyack's The Path (p.22).
  *  Danaher used Rohr to endorse all his books.
  *  Danaher taught a Nyack College Small Group "Jewish Prophets & the Enneagram" (Tuesdays,
2PM, Simpson 200A in Fall 2011.)
  *  Danaher used Rohr's book The Naked Now for a You-Tube Course from Oct-Dec. 2011.
  *  Danaher told You Tube students he is so full of Rohr that he isn't aware when Rohr's thoughts leave off and his take over.
What Interns do at CAC:
More About CAC:
Another Intern's CAC Story:

To know Rohr is to know where Danaher is coming from.  When you truly find out who Rohr is you'll understand why the deception Danaher teaches is so dangerous.  If possible get Rohr's book/s; look up all the web pages; and check out the critiques and you'll
know why one should "run from Rohr!"     

More about Rohr:

  *  Rohr has founded the Center for Action &Contemplation (CAC) in New Mexico.
  *  Rohr has held a conference at CAC with Emergent leaders (e.g. Brian McLaren) in 2008.
  *  Rohr has taught such topics as "God as Us! The Sacred Feminine & The True Masculine;"
"Enneagram Intensive;" "Following the Mystics;" "Jesus & Buddha;" "The Great Chain of Being;"
and so much more.
  *  Rohr has been on Oprah & Friends; and has been interviewed by Dr. Mehmet Oz.
  *  Rohr has been criticized for his heretical doctrine by Catholic apologists.

Criticism of Rohr by Catholic Bryce Andrew Sibley:
Criticism of CAC by "The Catholic Media Association:"
CAC's Labyrinth:
Spirituality & Practice: About Rohr:

November 2013 Update:  Danaher contributor to Rohr book: Oneing: The Perennial Tradition
James Danaher, along with Richard Rohr, Mark Burrows, Ilia Delio, Mary Beth Ingham, David Benner (Books used by College, Seminary, Empower Program), John Esposito, Robert Sardello,
Jamie Manson, &James Finley, writes article for Oneing.  See:
This page is from the "The Contemplative Book Store."  Notice the MANDALA in the upper left hand corner.  Scroll down to see the heretical books here. 

Danaher Endorser: Dr. John H. Armstrong:

  *  Armstrong is an adjunct Wheaton College professor.
  *  Armstrong is the President of ACT3: Equipping Leaders for Unity in Christ's Mission.
  *  Armstrong is heavily into Roman Catholicism being a personal friend of once Protestant -now prominent Catholic- Scott Hahn.
  *  Armstrong is the person who arranged for Chicago's Cardinal George to be his guest in March 2012 at Wheaton's Edman Chapel.
  *  Armstrong is also an admirer of Richard Rohr.

Danaher Friend: Dr. John H. Armstrong:

  *   Armstrong, through Eyes that See, Ears that Hear, wrote to Danaher.
  *   Armstrong telephoned Danaher; and sent him his book: No Church Is Too Small.
  *   Armstrong later endorsed two of Danaher's books.
  *   Armstrong subsequently met Danaher in person.
How Armstrong & Danaher Met:
   *   Armstrong introduces Danaher to another contemplative brother-Dr. Craig Higgins.
Higgins, a Presbyterian Pastor, teaches "Contemplative Meditation" at Wainwright House,
a Spirituality Center.

Danaher's You Tube Classes:  Danaher Teaches Father Richard Rohr's Book: The Naked Now: Learning to See As the Mystics See

Danaher's You Tube Class: Oct. 4, 2011-"Mysticism the Other Logic:"

Danaher begins this session discussing the modernity belief that truth can be certain; he says that's "ego" or "that's orthodoxy."  Postmoderns use "orthopraxy."
*  Danaher reads The Naked Now stopping to explain about "All or Nothing Thinking;"  and "Left Brain, or Dualistic Thought." 
*  Danaher challenges anyone not to think they can believe the whole Bible; everyone is in the middle. 
*  Danaher says the "ignorant masses" are impressed with those who never change their minds. 
*  Danaher refers to Rohr's comments on "Jesus lived personally" while "The Buddha lived experientially."
*  Danaher notes Rohr visited a Buddhist monastery ("this is really neat") where he observes their
"consequentialist debates."  (Note: the book says a friend "Thomas William" visited the monastery.)
*  Danaher reiterates the fact that he and various colleagues do not see eye to eye, but they are learning from each other and learning how to "smile" at the end of their debates as the Buddhists do. (See chapter five "A Lesson from the (Tibetan) Monks.")
*  Danaher tells a tale from his youth where he glorifies the Catholic traditions.
*  Danaher uses bad language in this lecture.
*  Danaher mentions folks ask him: "Why he is still at Nyack?  Why he hasn't been run off?"
*  Danaher also tells how he delivered his new contemplative prayer book to President Mike Scales, and how Scales said this type of prayer was something he needed personally.  And Danaher says: "So you have a president that's into contemplation, and looking for that deeper journey.  Pretty cool stuff!"

Danaher's You Tube Class: Oct.6, 2011-"Mysticism the Other Logic:"

*  Danaher continues reading and teaching from The Naked Now.
*  Danaher listens as student asks about the internet Vatican warning about Rohr teaching "New Age" ideas. The student says:  "I guess he's (Rohr) not the average Catholic."
*  Danaher response is to wax eloquent on the various orders of the R.C. church as the secular priest, the Dominicans, the Franciscans... and liberty, under Roman Catholicism. that they have each having their own prelates.
*  Danaher alludes to his three-month internship with CAC, and priest he met.
*  Danaher reads more; then mentions "theology heads" are a "six" in the "Enneagram" system; a student mentions his number was a "six" too when he began these studies.
*  Danaher quotes one of Rohr's most remarkable quotes between Rohr says this, and Rohr says that.
*  Danaher uses bad language about 7:25 into lesson.
*  Danaher talks with lady who tells she wants out of a church she attends; that she is especially (bad language) about those folks who say: "They know for certain!"  But, she like Gandhi, is trying to be the change and she is teaching "contemplative prayer;" she's getting it in.
*  Danaher says the beauty of Nyack is that at one point (just like he once was) people need a foundation; but that they aren't ready for the "deeper" things he's teaching.  At Nyack, he says, there's
"conservatives" they can go to; and there's "liberals" too.

Danaher's You Tube Class: Oct.11, 2011- "Mysticism the Other Logic:"

*  Danaher continues his Rohr indoctrination.
*  Danaher teaches religious, judgmental people begin with the "No!"   Rather, they should step back, wait, and then stand in the moment.
*  Danaher jots the New Age term "now here" on the board; and he asks the class what this means.
The answer is "nowhere!" 
*  Danaher goes over the idea how active our mind always is either being in the past, or the future; but we want to quiet that and just be in the present moment--not in our mind.  We want to be in "liminal space!"
*  Danaher once again tells how he awakens, and attempts to pray using a mantra "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"
*  Danaher reiterates "the mind wears you out" so you use a "mantra" to focus, or even Catholics use a "rosary" to focus.  We need this contemplative "discipline of prayer."
*  Danaher says we need to be a Mary, not a Martha. He then references "Brother Lawrence."
*  Danaher, next, shares how Father Rohr takes a yearly retreat to "Monk Thomas Merton's Kentucky Hermitage."
*  Danaher tells he did a talk on contemplative prayer to the Manhattan Campus, and the evaluation
was not what he wanted as people preferred he talk on "intercession."  He puts that idea down in a condescending voice.
*  Danaher uses a Rohr-like term "doing religion;" he also adds some not-so-nice language.
*  Danaher tells the students they can order Rohr videos through the internet, and names one they might like to purchase.
*  Danaher also puts down true Christian internet apologetic web sites who explain what "contemplative prayer" actually is.
*  Danaher, as in other lessons, refers to the occult practice of using an "Enneagram."

Enneagram Memo:  If you aren't aware of what "The Enneagram" is please read "The Enneagram GPS: Gnostic Path to Self" by Marcia Montenegro a former New Ager.

Danaher's You Tube Class: Oct. 13, 2011- "Mysticism the Other Logic:"

Danaher continues with more Rohr.
*  Danaher stresses we have never arrived, therefore we are always seeking forgiveness enabling us to be merciful and forgiving.
*  Danaher relates during a nightly prayer time he used a mantra over and over "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" to keep from being distracted.
*  Danaher reteaches again that we're trained in the "Left Brain," and we need to get out of the "Left Brain" and just "let go" and "be present!"
*  Danaher often alludes to such Catholics as "Mother Teresa."
*  Danaher again and again hammers the idea of our needing forgiveness continuously so that we in turn can give "mercy and forgiveness."
*  Danaher praises Nyack for having liberal viewpoints, and providing all kinds of professors so students can get the right fit.
*  Danaher tells of an old head of the Bible Department who took him to task.  A students quizzes him as to who that was.  Danaher does not name him because he says we're on You Tube!
*  Danaher tells of students who avoid his class as they have labeled him a heretic.

Danaher's You Tube Lecture: November 8, 2011- "Mysticism-Class Discussion:"

*  Danaher teaches in the twenty-first-century we think about knowledge differently.
*  Danaher says our goal is to have a "Jesus Perspective."
*  Danaher cautions, "Don't trust your own understanding; struggle with it!" 
*  Danaher instructs, "Do violence to your understanding!"
*  Danaher shares he no longer takes "Honor Students" because they just can't get with these ideas.
*  Danaher says during "modernity" mystery was eliminated for rational reasoning.  And after modernity we want to taste mystery and forgiveness.  "Open your head!" he advises.
*  Danaher once more drives home the point that contemplative prayer is being "present to God."
*  Danaher gets on his "soap box" about our continual sinning and being forgiven, so we can show "mercy and forgiveness" to others.
*  Danaher refers to Tony Campolo, a very controversial 'Christian' Eastern University professor, who used a bad word to describe a sad situation; to emphasize the word Campolo used Danaher repeats this several times.
*  Danaher says ( a few sentences later), "I was going to drop the F-bomb."
*  Danaher says "patriotism" is a form of "idolatry"; the then mocks the flag salute.
*  Danaher follows, soon after, with a sentence using still more unacceptable language.
*  Danaher believes the Bible is a "progressive revelation."
*  Danaher interjects the only answer is to get "The Jesus Revelation."
*  Danaher reiterates "contemplative prayer" means "being present" rather than "in our head" with its thoughts of the past and the future.  Saints like mystics Catherine or Genoa or Meister Eckert, he says, felt a "conscious union with something deeper."  With one last expletive, and a few more words he ends the session.
Note:  I listened to all of these "You Tube Lectures" sometimes several times; they speak for themselves.

Update January 2014:  After sending a copy of this article, and other information to Dr. Stumbo all of these videos have been taken down.  Hopefully, it wasn't just to hide them, for as I write in my most recent blog Danaher's book/article are still being touted on Nyack's web pages.  Please research Rohr to know why this continues to be a true travesty.    

What's Wrong With Rohr?  The Naked Now? 

*  Rohr refers to "the Buddha," and to "Buddhism" and "Hinduism" throughout his book.
Consider these quotes!  Notice Rohr often puts "Jesus" on the same plane as "the Buddha."

P.33  "It is the primary form of 'dying to the self' that Jesus lived personally and the Buddha taught experientially.  The growing consensus is that, whatever you call it, such calm, egoless seeing is invariably characteristic of people at the highest levels of doing and loving in all cultures and religions.  They are the ones we call sages or wise women or holy men.  They see like the mystics see."

p.35  "The fact that nonpolarity thinking is at the core of three of the world's great religions--Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism--demands that we give it at least a 'Gamaliel hearing.'"

p.39  "A Lesson from the Monks" (Buddhist Monks!)  "Do not plunder the Mystery with concepts."
(Zen Masters) and "My religion is kindness." (The Dalai Lama)

p.43  "He told me that during the young novice's training,  he or she is presented over a period of three years with each and every one of the Buddha's teachings."

p.44  "The concern in Tibetan Buddhism is not to achieve a conceptually perfect answer, which has to be defended, but to call forth a happy, loving, aware, and perceptive human being.  Is that not one type of 'salvation?'"

p.49  "Almost all spiritual teachers say something to this effect: 'Do not judge.'  There is Jesus in Matt. 7:1 and Luke 6:36-38; there is the Buddha in the Dhammapada, 4:7. Do not judge."

p.52  "In all situations, ... the all-important question  is 'Is it true?'  Not: 'Is it from my group?' 'Does it please me?' ...  Who cares? the saint would say.  'Only the ego cares,' the Buddhist would say; and the ego is not interested in truth or in God, only in control."

p.53  "As Rumi (Sufi) said, "There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.'  ...  Buddhists called it meditation, sitting, or practicing.... Sufi Islam called it ecstasy. ...  Vedantic Hinduism ...
spoke of it as nondual knowing or simply breathing."

p.59  "Knowledge is the gathering of information.  It consists in knowing about "the ten thousand things," as the Buddhists poetically call it."

p.60  "We already know far more than Jesus or Buddha ever knew, but the great difference is that they knew what they did know from a different level and in a different way".
p.63  "Good religion, however, is always about seeing rightly. ...  And to see rightly is to be able to be fully present-- without fear, without bias, and without judgment.  ... this wisdom has been kept a huge secret, even though Jesus, perhaps Moses, and surely Buddha taught it to their followers."

p.75  "... I would like to point out one teaching in Luke's gospel that I think is pivotal-- one that, some would say, sounds almost exactly like the saying of a Zen Master, Jesus is addressing both the Pharisees and the disciples, therefore both outsiders and insiders at the same time."

p.77  "In both of these passages (Luke 17) Jesus is exactly repeating the Sanskrit neti, neti of ancient Hinduism. 'Not this and not that' was taught by ancient sages to protect the final unpronounceability
and full knowledge of the Holy."

p.85  "Lonergan (Jesuit) taught that the only real way to find objectivity today was to help people clarify and heal their subjectivity!  These words might remind us of the Buddha. ..."

p.99  "Ancient Hinduism actually painted a third eye onto the forehead.  The tika, which originally was a sign of this new seeing or enlightenment, eventually became a cosmetic decoration for women, as it is today."

p.100  "Some call it (alternative consciousness) by the various names of light, including enlightenment (Hinduism, Buddhism, John's Gospel), some call it conversion (the falling of scales from Paul's eyes in Acts 9:18-19), Jesus calls several people who see correctly and act on it quite simply saved (see Luke 8:48, 17:19, Mark 7:28); or in words almost too simple, 'Do this and life is yours.'" (Luke 10:28)

p.134  "Religious teachers, including Jesus, the Buddha, as well as many Hindu sages, are always telling us to wake up--to be alert, alive, awake, attentive, or aware."

p.138  Summary/paraphrase of Romans 14-16  "Mediators and Buddhists would call this the 'Stable Witness,' which is attained by discipline and practice, leading to 'realization' of union with Being Itself."

p.153  " ... I am impressed that all three of the great Asian religions-- Hindu Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, and Chinese Taoism-- build upon a worldview of nonduality and paradox."

p.159  "Be the change you want to see in the world." --Mohandas Gandhi

p.171-172   Christian Tantra:  The "Welling Up" Exercise:  "It is really quite similar to what the Hindus discovered in tantra, where you hold the powerful gift and do not express it, so that it can be deepened and refined.  I think it is also what Jesus is offering the Samaritan woman when he says to her: 'The water that I shall give you will turn into a spring inside you, welling up into limitless life."
(John 4:14)'"

Check out "Christian Tantra" on the internet to see why this is not "Christian" at all!  

p.177  "In India they have the notion of the darshan:  The Hindus go to the temple, not to see God, statues, or rituals, as much as to be seem by God."
You can go through the book choosing "dualistic thinking," "the ego," "the third eye," or any other reoccurring theme and your results will be the same; Rohr is not teaching Biblical doctrine in any form or fashion.  Instead, he is weaving in all sorts of other deceptive and destructive teachings.  To think that Danaher has the liberty to teach such a book at a Christian college is a travesty.  How very far we've fallen!

In summary, although Dr. Danaher may appear knowledgeable to his students, and even very funny at times, his conduct as well as his teachings leaves one absolutely flabbergasted as to how this man ever would be teaching future Christian leaders.

Learn to Discern Granny Verse from II Timothy 1:13:  "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Red Flag This: Ruth Haley Barton & Self!

Self, self, self--there's lots about self in Ruth Haley Barton's book: Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.  There's the authentic self, the true self, the real self, the essential self, the false self, the ego-driven self, the childhood self, the truer self, and the soft body of self; there's coming home to one's self, settling into one's self, finding one's self, opening up to one's self, and losing touch with one's self; and there's our own transforming selves, and our own original selves.

And yet not one of these terms, or ideas can be found in the Bible.  And what's more many of the terms are not what you'd expect them to mean.  In the Bible you will read of the new man, and the old man or the natural man; you will read of the new creature in Christ, and old things.  But nowhere in scripture do we find the "selves" named above.

Be aware, too, that in Ruth's book nowhere is there anything about anyone ever needing to acknowledge one's sin to put off the old man, and to trust in Jesus Christ as one's personal Savior from sin so as to become a new man, or a new creature in Christ.

From where, and from whom does Ruth get these terms or ideas?  Let's begin to find our answers by simply typing such titles as "The True Self" and meditation, or "The True Self" and yoga to see what answers you will find.  Here are some for starters:

A "Sahaja Yoga Meditation" Course says:  "In this class you will experiment with your true Self.  It is the Self which is the reflection of the absolute beauty of the source of life.  It is the reflection of the universal love and innocence in every person ..."

An article "Awaken to Your Higher-Your True Self" describes our "higher self" as "the most perfect form of who we are."

A Transcendental Meditation participant says, "Readers who practice the TM technique will recognize in these passages (examples given) clear descriptions of transcending-the natural activity of mental activity settling down like waves on an ocean.  ...  We experience pure consciousness.  We realize that this our true Self, beyond time and space, infinite and eternal."

Catalyst Yogi uses a chart to contrast the True Self vs. The False Self.  Of the "True Self" he writes, "True Self, among many descriptions, knows god and me, and me and god are ONE."

This is just the tip of the ice berg about what you can find from various sites about what "The True Self" means.  The "Spirituality and Practice" site (Brussatts) under their ABC practices will give you more definitions.  Try "You" to find more quotations.

Red Flag These: Ruth Haley Barton and Her "True Self" Mentors!

Who were some of Barton's most influential "true self" mentors?  Barton tells us in her Silence and Solitude chapter nine notes where she writes, "The concept of the true self and the false self is a consistent theme not only in Scripture but also in the writings of the church fathers and mothers. Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen (particularly Nouwen's  The Way of the Heart) and Father Thomas Keating are contemporary authors who have shaped my understanding of this aspect of spiritual life.  This is a way of identifying the false part of ourselves that relies on deeply patterned and often unconscious self-protective behaviors developed in response to the presence of sin and wounding within and around us.  Spiritual transformation involves peeling back the layers of the false self in order to reveal the true authentic self."

With these words in mind let us examine this "trio" of "true self mentors" beginning with Trappist Monk Thomas Merton.

Father Thomas Merton

What did Thomas Merton teach about the "true self" and the "false self?"  Father James Martin, SJ provides some answers in Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints.  Chapters include: "The Short Life of Thomas Merton," "True Selves and False Selves," "Writing the True Self," and "The Truest Self."

Martin begins his book with a quote taken from Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation where Merton wrote, "For me to be a saint means to be myself."  Merton also wrote, "Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and discovering my true self."

Father Richard Rohr 's back cover endorsement reads, "Probably nothing is more important to practical religion than the discovery of the 'self we have to lose and the self we have of find.'  Jesus said it first, Thomas Merton made it clear, and James Martin, if you can believe it, makes it even clearer."

Priest Henri J. M. Nouwen & Wil Hernandez

Famed author, and priest Henri Nouwen's legacy has become the special project of Wil Hernandez, (Mentioned in Ruth's notes; misspelled as "Will") an Episcopalian spiritual director, professor, life coach, worship and retreat leader, and author of  Henri Nouwen and Spiritual Polarities: A Life of Tension with two other books.  Hernandez founded "The Henri Nouwen Legacy: Celebrating Henri Nouwen's Spiritual Impact."

Nouwen, especially, as you read, influenced Barton in her thinking about the "true self," and "the false self."  Hernandez, in turn, addresses this polarity teaching how through Nouwen's example we can learn how to befriend its inherent tension in order to transform us.

Hernandez's foreword is written by Father Richard Rohr OFM, of the "Center for Action and Contemplation" (CAC), who having known Nouwen personally, praised him highly.  Hernandez writes about the inward, outward, and upward polarities.  Immediately chapter one addresses the psychological tensions of the true and false self.  In his preface, Wil fills us in on how the book came to be written giving thanks to Rohr for insights he gleaned from two Rohr events, and one Rohr book:
The Naked Now.

"Spirituality and Practice"* (Frederic/Mary Ann Brussat) gives a review of "this enlightening paperback."  They write, "In the matter of Tibetan Buddhists, Nouwen, a Catholic priest, did not run from ... considerable tensions but sought to embrace and befriend them.  Hernandez shows how solitude enabled this teacher and writer a chance to confront his false self and strengthen his authentic self ..."

Read about Hernandez and the "Nouwen Legacy here:

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Roman Catholic priest Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, quoted in Barton's book, also weighs in on Hernandez's Nouwen work.  He says, "Henri Nouwen is our generation's Kierkegaard.  Like Kierkegaard, he helps introduce us to ourselves.  Wil Hernandez aids us in the next step, he wonderfully introduces us to Henri Nouwen."

And just who is Father Rolheiser?  He is a speaker, author, columnist, and President of the Oblate School of Theology.  He sounds sincere and spiritual, but is Rolheiser a believer of the true gospel that in order to reach heaven, as Nicodemus, we must be born again, or saved?  No, he is not.  his recent column "Have I Been Saved?" (8-25-13) gives us our answer.  In it he writes, "The real question in our lives shouldn't be: What must I do to go to heaven?  Or, what must I do to avoid going to hell?  ... the point is rather our deepest motivation has to be to do things for others and not for ourselves.  For the main part our own salvation will take care of itself if we focus on the needs of others ... Teresa of Avila suggests that we're mature in following Christ if our questions and concerns no longer have a self-focus: Am I saved?  Have I met Jesus Christ? ...  Our real question needs to be: How can I be helpful?  (Note: Rolheiser did not use quotations in this section of his article.)  Read the rest of the piece here:

Reader, I challenge you, if you're reading Ruth Haley Barton, and following her advice her book is filled with religious men exactly like Rolheiser who are not genuine believers, and certainly do not believe that "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  (Ephesians 2:8,9)  Ruth's writings are overflowing with Roman Catholicism, and interwoven with unscriptural doctrine that seems enticing, but what deceptions are beneath her web of words.  Beware of her "true self" mentors!

Priest Henri Nouwen

If you wish to know the real Henri Nouwen, and his true beliefs read this outstanding article:
"Henri Nouwen: "Exalting Self and Diminishing the Cross" by L.S. Ormiston (Berean Beacon).
Ormiston notes, "Even a quick review of history uncovers many causes for concern beginning with the simple fact that he was a Catholic priest ...even though he rarely dressed like a priest ... used 'Catholic sounding language' ... He was, nevertheless, a life-long devotee of Roman Catholicism with its false gospel, worship of the Eucharist and devotion to Mary.  Ormiston points out that, beyond the priesthood, Nouwen was heavily influenced by Gordon Allport who introduced "self-esteem" to psychology.

Ormiston lays out three examples of how the "spirituality" of Nouwen had "everything to do with self."  Here are two:  Nouwen: "Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is self-rejection."  The Bible: "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man (self) which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts." (Ephesians 4:22); and Nouwen: "I had to be in touch with my own goodness..."  The Bible: "there is none that doeth good, no not one." (Romans 3:12)

Ormiston continues by pointing out that in Nouwen's The Way of the Heart he states, " (Solitude) it is the place of conversation where the old self dies and the new self is born."  (And that is exactly what Ruth Haley Barton teaches in Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership  that one needs to enter solitude and silence to find one's true self in God.)  Nothing in Nouwen's writing mentions true conversion through salvation through grace.  Ormiston, goes on, saying, "no, it is through solitude; ... through some mystical process in which you turn inward on yourself, and somehow find within yourself the intrinsic goodness and godliness you have always wanted and unknowingly possessed.  Read the entire paper here:

*"Spirituality and Practice" is an ecumenical organization for all religions and spiritual paths that is packed with information that unlocks the beliefs, and world views of a number of authors quoted by Barton.  Some authors Barton quotes, listed as "Living Spiritual Teachers," include: Richard Foster, Alan Jones, Thomas Keating, Ted Loder, Wayne Muller, Parker J. Palmer, Richard Rohr, Jane Venard, and Jim Wallis; or authors listed as "Remembering Spiritual Masters Project" include: Thomas Merton, Henri J. M. Nouwen, and M. Basil Pennington.  The web site for the organization also lists an ABC list of meditation terms that one should be knowledgeable about, as well as other information that may be of help to a discerning believer.

Father Thomas Keating, OSCO

If you'd like to know more about Father Keating, the third person in Barton's trio of most influential
"true self" mentors you'll want to read "Resting in God ... An Interview with Fr. Thomas Keating, OSCO" by Anne A. Simpson posted on "Rosaries of Divine Union: Rosaries for the Contemplative Dimension of Prayer."  This insightful interview with Keating, a "Johnny Appleseed of the soul who, along with a cadre of clergy, and lay people, is sowing seeds of contemplative prayer and spreading Christian contemplation across the country." 

Simpson records, "In his taped lectures and his books ... he describes the inner changes that occur, including letting go of the false self ( a self-image that impedes one's relationship with God) in favor of expressing one's true self (our basic 'core of goodness') ..."  To read the complete interview see:

Red Flag These: Ruth Haley Barton & More of Her "True Self" Men!

Father Albert Haase, O.F.M.

Father Albert Haase is a priest, and author of Coming Home to Your True Self,  that Ruth favorably endorsed when she penned these words, "Haase is a wise and winsome guide for the spiritual life and his book is a helpful companion for the journey of coming home to the true self."

Another endorser of Haase, whom Barton often quotes and admires, is heretical priest Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M. who writes, "This is a practical and profound spiritual guidance!  If we do not clarify some of these foundational issues, there will be no real flourishing in our search for God."  Writer of Haase's foreword is, one of Ruth's Transforming Center faculty and presenter at her retreats, M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.  He, too, puts his stamp of approval on Haase's teachings when he says, " I believe Coming Home to Your True Self will be a significant blessing for those who hunger for a genuine spiritual journey."

In his preface we immediately know from whom Father Haase received his "strong influence" in his understanding of "spiritual formation."  For he writes that it was at a ten-day centering prayer workshop under Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist monastery in Snowmass, Colorado where seeds were planted that grew over the years.  And Ruth, also, wrote she was greatly influenced by Keating.  Besides, in her book Ruth shares a story from the monastery at Snowmass.

M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.

Here's another of Ruth's "true self" men, who like Ruth writes IVP (InterVarsity Press) Formatio books as did Father Haase.  Mulholland's title says it all:  The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self.  Once again, Barton is an endorser of this teaching.  She said, "Most of us are aware that there is something terribly wrong.  It is called the false self.  The Deeper Journey  provides understanding and guidance for the journey from the false self to the true self ...  The book
is filled with much needed wisdom from one of the most trusted spiritual guides of our time."

And this "most trusted guide" shares that he takes his concepts of "the false self" from many mystics as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, David Benner, and others.  In a review of  the book Gary Gilley says Mulholland's writing can't be understood without filtering it through the lens of the words of his mystical mentors.

Gilley noted that Mulholland's use of "the false self" is a "misleading term invented by such as Thomas Merton (p.165) but is nowhere found in scripture."  Gilley explains our flesh can't be "false" for that is who we truly are apart from being regenerated by Christ.

Another term used by Mulholland is "self-referenced."  How to rid yourself of this "self-referenced life" is to mystically detach and center on God who is found inside ourselves.  Gilley concludes his review by stating "The Deeper Journey"  in no sense takes us into a deeper life with God.  It not only leads us astray from biblical Christianity, but deep into the heart of ourselves. For more of Gilley's review read:

Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M.

Still another priest Ruth relies on for "true self" wisdom is Franciscan Father Richard Rohr founder of "The Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in New Mexico.  Rohr writes for "Radical Grace" (his publication), and "Sojourners" (activist Jim Wallis).  To get a glimpse of Rohr's audio products is to meet the real Rohr.  These products include such titles as: "Jesus and Buddha, " "Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate,"  "God as Us!" "The Cosmic Christ," and "The Enneagram and Grace " (With Russ Hudson, Ruth Barton's enneagram teacher)  It is no wonder Rohr is listed as a "living spiritual teacher" by "Spirituality and Practice."

Rohr not only teaches the false/true self through his writings, but through the use of the "enneagram" as well.  Hudson, and Rohr (above) have done enneagram workshops together including one at the Conscious Living Center in Cincinnati.  And if at this center you complete the basic enneagram courses your next step is to take a class called "Consciousness Ascending."

In her article "The Enneagram GPS: Gnostic Path to Self" Marcia Montenegro writes, "The enneagram purports to lead a person not only to self-understanding, but to an integration to all aspects of self and, ultimately, to an awakening of the true Self.  'Self' is capitalized because the Self is considered by the original (and most contemporary) Enneagram teachers to be divine."

For further insight and information about Ruth and her enneagram retreat, as well as a list of her enneagram spiritual directors who help her teach this practice please read the previous blog: "The Transforming Center: A Path to Roman Catholicism and New Age Paganism."

Here's a recent report by a Deb Turnow (8-15-13) who is a spiritual director, and executive director at Kavanna House in York, Pa.  "In Welcome to My Shadow Side," Deb records, "This past weekend I spent uncovering my shadow side.  I am part of Ruth Haley Barton's Transforming Community and we spent the majority of the weekend looking at the enneagram and using it as a tool to better understand ourselves.  Turnow ends with this thought: "I am very, very grateful for a new awareness of how I move in the world, in both my True Self and my False Self, and because of this new awareness, I can better lean into God to be the source of my identity."

Would that these deceived retreatants would have spent their time looking into "the mirror of the Word."  An old children's song echoes through my mind:  "God's Word is like a hammer, breaking the rock in twain, a light to guide our footsteps, upon the stormy main, a sword that has two edges, a mirror ourselves to see, oh yes, this the book of books, the B-I-B-L-E!"

One of Rohr's newest books is The Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self  (2013) in which he explores the soul, the True Self, and the resurrection with scripture, tradition, and inner experience.  A review on "Read the Spirit" web site by editor David Crumm observes "The MESSAGE of his latest book, ...can be conveyed in a single sentence: "At the core of each life is true eternal goodness--and the key to a successful life is opening up that true self so that we can compassionately connect with God's world."

Rohr wrote too, "Because far too many religious folks do not seriously pursue this 'reverence humming with them,' they do not recognize that something within them needs to be deeply trusted and many things must be allowed to die ... And when the slag and the dross is removed  that which evokes reverence is right there waiting."

Rohr indicates Jesus refers to our "True Self" as treasure in a field.  He also labels the "False Self" as the "small self."  He goes on to teach once someone finds his "True Self" the "False Self" begins to fall away.  And if you realize that you have the divine image in you, you'll see it in others too.  But, the Psalmist writes in Psalm 51, "that in sin did my mother conceive me."  Romans 3:23 records, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  Oh, the deception of such writing as Rohr writes, and oh the accounting Ruth Haley Barton will have to give for leading "evangelicals" to such men, and such practices.

Parker J. Palmer

One more "true self" advocate whom Barton prominently quotes is Quaker, living spiritual teacher, Parker J. Palmer who is an activist, educator, author, and visionary.  Palmer, incidentally, is also a contributor to, and an advisor for the "Council of Advisors for the Spirituality and Practice Center."
This multifaith and interspiritual organization is supported by such partners as "Contemplative Outreach (Keating); "Community of the Mystic Heart;" "The Upper Room;" and "The Threshold Society." (Sufis)  S&P is also advised by a Zen sensei, a Sufi, a Buddhist lama, a New Age guru, and so many more.

And just what does Parker say about the "true self?"  He writes, "Vocation does not come from a voice 'out there' calling me to be something I am not.  It comes from a voice 'in here' calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given to me at birth by God." (p.77  Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership)  In Let Your Life Speak Palmer also writes, "The figure calling to me all these years was, I believe, what Thomas Merton calls 'true self.'"  In addition, Palmer also quotes Unitarian Universalist May Sarton who said, "The pilgrimage toward true self will take 'time, many years and places.'"

Red Flag These: Ruth Haley Barton & Her "True Selfisms!"

Here are some Barton "true self" quotes from Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership:

p.19  "Truly, the best thing any of us have to bring to leadership is our own transforming selves.

p. 26  "... stay on the path of becoming our true self in God-- a self that is capable of an ever-deepening yes to God's call on our life."

p. 53  "All we stand to lose is the false self--the adaptive behaviors that are ultimately in opposition to the life of love and trust and being led by God that our hearts long for.  To give ourselves to this process, we must trust that our true self is hidden with Christ in God, and to be revealed as God sees that we are ready to live into it."

p. 53   "The purgative way is a commitment to self-knowledge, which is essential preparation for serious Good News.  Purgation ( or self-simplification) is a way of 'clearing the decks for action.'"
(Quoted from "Living Spiritual Teacher" Alan Jones of Episcopal Grace Cathedral in San Francisco)

p.77-78  "But if we are willing to pay attention, we can catch glimpses of the true self ...  Some of the best hints about who we are really come from memories of unguarded moments in childhood ... If we are able to look back on our childhood self with curiosity and attention, we may remember moments when we were completely and unreservedly ourselves ... This essential self  existed before we had anything to prove..."

Ruth has obviously forgotten the verse from Genesis 8:21 that reads, "for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ..."

p.127  "The journey of self-knowledge that leads us beyond the false self to living and leading from our authentic self is a challenging one, but it is certainly worth it.  This is the kind of truth that ultimately sets us free to lead from a truer self, one that is compelled by truer motivations that God placed with us before the foundations of the earth."

p.134   "All these rhythms (silence, solitude, stillness, community) create space for God ... All of these rhythms put us in touch with something more real in ourselves and others than we are all able to produce.  We touch our very being in God."

p. 161 "... allowing ourselves to face our ultimate alone compels us to 'travel inward' and 'to meet ourselves and to meet the infinite love and riches of God dwelling inside our beings.'"  (From Fr. Ronald Rolheiser)

Finding your "true self" in God in silence and solitude is the thread that runs through Barton's book.
It is the thread that connects her to her "true self" mentors for each sanction the same mystical prayer practice over and over in their writings.  Yes, each put forth the mystical prayer practice known as "centering prayer" where one quiets the body and the mind; breathes deeply; let's go of all distractions by chanting a mantra; and then "settles into" (Ruth's pet phrase) a deeper communion so as to find the true self, the real self, the authentic self, the truer you within your self--"the divine within" as the mystics call it.

To conclude, these are some words of Ruth Haley Barton, and these are some words of her "true self"
mentors; but these are some words of God as found in your Bible.

Genesis 6:5  "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

Psalm 51:5  "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

Jeremiah 17:9  "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Romans 7:18  "For I know that in me dwelleth no good thing."

II Timothy 3:1,2  " This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves..."

II Timothy 3:13  "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."

Proverbs 3:5,6  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

For further verses read:

Now, I ask you which words will you follow?  Which words will you trust?  Will you turn to your own self, to your own understanding?  And I ask you if men and women abandon the Word of God for another gospel and another Jesus will you fight for the faith, and from such turn away?  I pray you will!  I pray I will!

Learn to Discern Granny or "Grandmother Lois Verses:"

II Timothy 4:1-7  "Preach the word; ...For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; ...they shall turn away their ears from the truth, ... I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith!"

Definition of the "False Self," & "Higher Self" from Ray Yungen's "Glossary of Terms" in
A Time of Departing:

False Self:  The false self  is the ego or personality that is observable by others.  One rids oneself of the false self to find the true self  through mantra-meditation.  New Agers would consider people like Buddha, Ghandi, and even Jesus Christ as examples of people who found their true self.

Higher Self:  Supposed "God-self" with that New Agers seek to connect with through meditation.  Also called the Christ-self or True-self.