Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beware! Get to the Heart of Soul Care!

Beware!  Get to the Heart of Soul Care!

Ingrid Davis is a pastor's wife, former missionary, adjunct professor, life coach, mentor, spiritual direction teacher, emotional healer, speaker, and missionary care giver.  Besides, she's a powerful teacher of "Soul Care" teaching it at the Alliance Theological Seminary, CMA churches, and overseas.  Her sixty page online course (ILF 2012 Costa Rica) highlights such "soul care" greats as Thomas Moore, and David G. Benner.  But do these fathers of soul care teach godly principles that Ingrid should be introducing to hundreds of undiscerning souls both here and abroad?  Should these men be used at all?  If not, why not?  Read on!

Be a Soul Care Berean!

If you want to get to the heart of soul care you must get to its roots, and you must actually look into these teachers and all of their colleagues, and associates; all of their quotes and notes; and all of their writings.  You must intentionally become a "Soul Care Berean!"  Yes, you must ask: Are these things really so?  Are these things Biblical, man-centered, or even downright pagan?

Soul Care Synopsis:

But before going any further a very good place to begin your soul care research would be with this Lighthouse Trails Ministries article:  "Soul Care: New Term, Same Ol' Contemplative Thing."  Here you can find the answer to "soul care from where?"  Here you can read a definition of what soul care entails; and that it's connected to "spiritual formation, spiritual direction and directors."  Here you can learn more of what's at the core of "soul care."  Lastly, you can check out more sites for further information.

Care of the Soul Father: Thomas Moore

In order to get to the heart and soul of "soul care" one must become acquainted with psychotherapist Thomas Moore, author of the national bestseller Care of the Soul (1992) which, some say, began a refocus on the soul.  Former monk Moore, archetypal psychologist, mythologist, imagination teacher, theologian, musician, philosopher, author, lecturer, columnist, and advisor himself was mentored by his close friend and Jungian archetypal psychologist James Hillman.  He also an affinity for his colleague New Ager Robert Sardello.

Care of the Soul  Synopsis:

Cover:  National Bestseller
Acknowledgment:  Thanks "original thinkers who taught him to think about the soul, especially James Hillman and Robert Sardello" (p. IX)
Introduction:  Quotes Marsilio Ficino who says, "What we need is soul in the middle, holding together mind and body, ideas and life, spirituality and the world." (p. XIV)
"Soul Is:" Moore says soul "is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing ourselves.  It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance." (p.5)
A Summary Critique:"  Tom Snyder, a Christian commentator, said both Moore and Hillman
believed that there were many different ways of being spiritual, and there certainly wasn't one way to God.  This is known as "psychological polytheism."
"Truth is:"  Moore wrote truth is always developing, and is not absolute.  He stated, "Truth is not really a soul word; soul is after insight more than truth."  (p.246)
Suggestions for Further Reading:  Some additional Books Moore lists include: A Blue Fire (Hillman anthology edited by Moore); The Homeric Hymns (Hymns/stories offer praise to gods/goddesses); Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Carl Jung); Letters to a Young Poet (Rilke Writings); Facing the World with Soul (Robert Sardello); & Ordinarily Sacred (Lynda Sexton) among others. 
Back Cover:  Two back cover endorsees include Hillman, Moore's revered mentor; and Sam Keen, once a fundamentalist Christian.  Keen, now a believer in "personal mythology," broke free from narrow Christianity inoculating himself against any "true belief."

Some More Moore Writings:

Moore's Newest Book: A Religion of One's Own

Just before its publication Moore listed ten ways to fashion a religion of our own.  These include: meditate; live ethically; live responsibly; have a dream practice; be a mystic; be intimate with nature; be a monk or monkess; aim for bliss; develop a philosophy/theology of life; and learn from the world's religious and spiritual traditions.  This reminds me of Judges 21:25: "... every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

Moore's E-Course: "Practicing Spirituality with Thomas Moore"

Moore has recently taught an online e-course led by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat of Spirituality and Practice.**  The Brussats wrote, "In the past twenty years, Thomas Moore has almost single-handedly revived interest in the soul.

*  Spirituality and Practice is a New Spirituality ecumenical site much like "Lighthouse Trails Ministries" is an evangelical site.  Spirituality and Practice is full of lists as living spiritual teacher, deceased spiritual masters, spirituality terms, book reviews, and much more.  The site can be helpful in exposing their viewpoint, and keeping one abreast of happenings in their world.

Moore's Guideposts Piece:  "An Inner Voice"

In an "Inner Voice" from Mysterious Ways (Guideposts) February-March 2014 Moore invites readers to practice five steps to develop our ability to hear our "inner voice."  These include: clear the decks, look to nature, read, be an artist, and embrace the unusual.  Moore concludes, "As adults, we must take steps to open up our imagination and our minds to wonder.  When we do, the light comes on, the darkness lifts and our path unfolds, bringing us closer to who we're destined to be."

Mysterious Ways Finds Me!

I had been researching "soul care," and reading books about it but seemed "stuck" when on a recent Sunday a dear lady pressed into my hand the Moore article.  "Read this!" said she.  "I remembered you told us about 'Thomas Merton,' and when I read this I knew that there was something wrong. Do you know anything about this man?"  Did I?  I had just been researching him, and yet this lady had no idea I knew anything at all about Moore.  Then, I knew that I knew I was to continue writing about "soul care" no matter how long it took!

Moore's Spirituality and Health Article:  "Care of the Soul: Joyfully Adrift"

This September-October 2013 article gives insight into how Moore is now "adrift" as he writes from his former conventional life of being a more soulful person. Moore wrote:  "As I grow liberated in many ways I pursue my interest in UFOs and aliens, develop my skills with the scrying mirror, and use my intuitions as the main guide of my life."  And this drift, he says, has taken him toward the divine.  "And maybe," reflects Moore, "as we become more soulful, we drift into reality rather than away from it."

Moore's Findhorn Workshop: "Love, Magic, Miracles"

At a Findhorn Workshop in 2012 Moore presented "Love, Magic, Miracles."  Included was: "Lessons from an Obsidian Mirror" where Moore introduced how to use the scrying* mirror.  The workshop focused on a magical way of life by exploring dreams, the arts, deep intuition, prophecy, and simple trance as ways of living more deeply.

*  Scrying is the ancient art of divination for the purpose of clairvoyance.

Moore's Resurgence Article: "Pray to Gaia"

This article from March-April 2008 begins with "Let us pray to Gaia and awaken the sleepy unconsciousness of our time."  Moore continued, "Today the very existence of Gaia is threatened ... so this would be a good time to return to the practice or praying to her--God manifested as the Earth."

A Thought:

Just this short summary of who Moore is, and what Moore writes would be enough to eliminate anything Moore has written on how to do soul care.  How much we need to pray the "Discernment Prayer" found in Philippians 1:9,10: "And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ."

Moore Mentor: James Hillman

Because Hillman's influence was so much a part of Moore to know Hillman is to know Moore too.
And to know them both is to know Benner.  Throw into the mix some soulful Sardello and you'll see what a dangerous foursome they are.  (Recall Blog: "Danaher Does it Again ..." to recall that Benner, Sardello, and Rob Bell are Master Teachers for the Father Richard Rohr Institute.)

Hillman, archetypal psychologist, is author of the Soul's Code, The Dream and the Underworld, 
and Re-Visioning Psychology  among others.  He was a student of Carl Jung, and later Director of the Jung Institute.  He was an avid advocate for mythology, philosophy, and art.  In addition, he was a co-founder of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture; and a lecturer of archetypes in myths, fairy tales, and poems.  To better know Jung please read this enlightening article:

Both Hillman and Moore were proponents of Psychological Polytheism, and both attacked fundamentalists of all kinds.  Hillman attempted to restore "soul" to its proper place in psychology.
His well-known dream phrase was "Stick with the image!"  Another teaching he's remembered for is the "Acorn Theory of the Soul"  For more information on both Moore and Hillman read this excellent Thomas Lee Snyder review of Care of the Soul  here.

Another Soul Care Father : David G. Benner

Benner's Care of Souls Classic (1998):

David Benner's Care of Souls is a classic work which many Christians accept as gospel.  However,  probing just beneath the surface, especially into his quotes and notes, will unlock why this work contains ideas and practices far removed from scripture.  To discern some of its deceptions please thoughtfully read this review.

Benner 's Thomas Moore Connection:

In Benner's intro it is to Moore's bestseller Care of the Soul that Benner credits with "the concept of soul" making its reappearance in modern times.  Benner relates that this interest in soul came with a renewed interest in spirituality.  This spirituality was, said Benner, a reaction against Christianity which signaled a worldview shift to postmodernism.

Benner's Definitions of "Soul" and "Soul Care:" 

Benner says, "soul" refers to the whole person, "but with particular focus on the inner world of thinking, feeling, and willing;" (p.22) while "soul care" can be defined as "the support and restoration of the well-being of persons in their depth and totality, with particular concern for their inner life." (p.23)

To Know Benner Better --Notice "His Men" Named in His Notes:

We've all heard of the phrase "a few good men," well much the opposite is the case in Benner's work.  For many of "His Men" might be labeled as "a few deceptive men,"  "a few pagan men," or "a few _____ men."  You fill in the adjective.  To wrap your mind round these men will unlock Benner's true agenda, and this agenda is far from anything evangelical!

Who are these men?  Read on!

Fritz Kunkel, the we-psychologist whose religious psychology was based on a synthesis of Freud, Adler, and Jung, taught that the we-feelings of the preegocentric child, was our hope for growth and wholeness.  Others, said Kunkel, are indispensable for self.  (p.75)

John Finch, author of what he calls Christian existential psychology, espoused a way through the false self, back to spirit, and finally the grounding of spirit in Spirit.  Finch described this spiritual encounter as "... uncluttering the conscience and attempting to witness of the Spirit to the spirit, to encourage the spirit to emerge and be itself." (p.81)  Benner notes that he borrowed from Finch's intensive existential psychotherapy model as he developed his own intensive soul care retreat. (p.201)

Adrian van Kaam, Catholic psychologist who wrote On Being Yourself , believed one should search for his original self as hidden in God to find one's true self.  Van Kaam wrote, "Spiritually ... resides in the core of my being, in my deepest self or spirit...." (p.81)

Urban T. Holmes, an Episcopal Priest, known as the Very Reverend Urban T. Homes, did his doctrinal work under the Jesuits.  In his book A History of Christian Spirituality Holmes taught about kataphatic (positive images of God as tools), and apophatic (using an emptying technique) meditation.  He also taught we approach God in two ways speculative, and affective: the first emphasizes the illumination of the mind, while the later emphasizes the illumination of the heart. (P.90-91)

Rudolph Otto, a German Lutheran theologian, wrote The Idea of the Holy, which describes one's encounter with "the numinous" as creature consciousness or an awareness of our smallness when up against awe-inspiring might of some kind.  In Benner's description of this in "Quest for Mystery" he tells of Otto's description of this "mysterium tremendum."   Someone else who describes this mystery is none other than Father Richard Rohr in his Daily Meditation "Experiencing the Holy" on October 28, 2012.  (p.123)

David Bohm, physicist and communication theorist, was a dialogue advocate where the group "becomes open to the flow of a larger intelligence" and thought is approached as collective phenomenon.  In her article "Boning Up on Bohm" in Seeds of Unfolding Patricia Carlin revealed what Bohm's true dialogue agenda was.
Burggraf, and Grossenbacher, contemplative psychology professors at Naropa University, in a table on how to achieve contemplative modes in education, cite David Bohm as well as Parker Palmer as authors to consult to help students "suspend assumption and judgment" while practicing "careful listening and dialogue."  (p.132)

Peter Senge, a follower of Bohm, and contemplative author of The Fifth Discipline, is a promoter of team dialogue in organizational discourse that suspends held beliefs to achieve insights not held individually.  Senge is also an ardent practitioner of Taoist gruesome "White Skeleton Meditation or Visualization."  (p.134, 243)   (Scroll down to "Team Learning.")

Jeremy Taylor, Unitarian Universalist minister, wrote Dream Work: Techniques for Discovering the Creative Power in Dreams.  Note the titles of these two sample chapter: "The Gift of Hermes and The Transformation of the Culture," and "Lucid Dreaming and Dream Yoga."  Taylor has a doctorate from the University of Creation Spirituality (Started by Matthew Fox) and an honorary doctorate from Starr King School (Unitarian College). (p.173)

Bernard J. Tyrrell, S.J., Christotheraphist, wrote Christotheraphy I and II which, according to Benner, when used model a well-developed method of combining both psychotherapy and spiritual direction.  Benner also noted that the overall framework for Christotheraphy is the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.  One of the existential techniques, mind-fasting, touted by Tyrrell can be attributed to Thomas Merton who spoke of "fasting of the heart" which he derived from Chuang Tzu, a great Taoist writer.  (p.220-201)

Alan W. Jones, Episcopal priest and Dean Emeritus of Grace Cathedral, wrote Soul Making in which Jones rails against those who repeat formulas like "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, " or those who teach eternal punishment of those who fail to make a verbal commitment to Jesus Christ.  From this heretical book Benner writes that Jones says that "soul care is helping people become human and that a the core of this is learning to love."  (p.207)

James Hillman, who influenced Benner greatly, wrote The Dream and the Underworld which is listed in Benner's notes as a book we should consult for dream work interpretation.  On the back of Hillman's book we read, "Hillman goes back to classical theories of the poetics of mythology.  He relates dreaming to the myths of the Underworld--the dark side of the soul, its images, and shadows--and to the gods and figures of death."  (p.243)

Louis M. Savary, and Patricia H. Berne are the authors, along with Stephron Williams, of Dreams and Spiritual Growth which Benner quotes and touts as having thirty-seven (ecumenical) dream work techniques great for Christian soul care.  Savary and Berne wrote Prayer Medicine
where they write, "In taking their prayer medicine they are drinking the living water that flows with them.  Savary and Berne also practice "kything" and wrote Kything: The Art of Spiritual Presence
suggesting one center yourself in God, lovingly focus on God or the person you want to kythe with, and make contact with visualization.  And these are authors you'd want to consult for Christian soul care?  I pray not!!  (p. 243)

This is but a sampling of authors Benner quotes, and recommends.  Once more, I would ask, Where is our discernment?  Where is our repulsion against such absolute heresy as contained therein?  Why won't we stand up, and ban such books from being used on our Christian campuses and churches?

Benner's Favorite Phrase: "Deep Knowing of Self!"

David Benner's favorite phrase in this book has to be "the deep knowing of self" which he repeats over and over.  Such a fixation of self.  Whereas Philippians 3:10 states, "That I may know him..."
Reminiscent of Ruth Haley Barton's emphasis on self Benner's work is saturated with self.  If you haven't already, please go back and read my previous blog: "Red Flag This: Ruth Haley Barton and Self!"

Benner and How to do Dialogue:

Benner contends that the foundation of soul care is "dialogue."  And without dialogue soul care can't work.  For the goal of dialogue is, says Benner, "-- the creation of understanding that supersedes that which existed in the individual participants prior to the onset of the dialogue." (p.132)  Dialogue is the crux of how Benner believes we increase our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world so that in turn we expand our self.

Benner and How to Do Dreamwork:

Benner "In Dreams in Soul Care" advises that soul care recipients need to keep regular dream journals.  Here he suggest that significant dreams have a puzzling quality to them having arisen from the deepest levels of consciousness.  Such dreams, he writes, are charged with "psychic energy." (p. 167)  These dreams are "numinous dreams" for they have an autonomous spiritual quality that transcends our spiritual nature.

Benner relates dreams represent parts of our self like "our masculine and feminine parts, our masochistic parts, our narcissistic parts, our grandiose parts, ..." and so on.  (p.172)  "Dreams
bring us into contact," notes Benner, "with both lost and underdeveloped parts of self." (p.172)  As always "self" is ever present on page after page in a Benner book!

Benner goes on to suggest six techniques to further our "communications from God."  One suggestion even says to conduct an imaginary conversation with "the dream ego."  It would seem that using the list of books and authors from which Benner draws his dream instruction should give any thinking Christian a nightmare!

Benner and Forms of Christian Soul Care:

Benner notes there are at least nine forms of soul care including "spiritual direction," and "intensive soul care."  In regard to spiritual direction, Benner said, its focus was "experience with God."  He wrote, "It seeks to help individuals find their ground in God, and live their lives out of that ground."  (p.195)  He mentions, his favorite, Thomas Merton who felt it was dangerous if a contemplative was guided by nobody.  While in regard to intensive soul care, Benner praised Tyrrell's Christo-therapy that was based on the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.  Now, Benner's own intensive soul care retreat was modeled on Bernard Tyrrell's work as well that of John Finch. (p.200)

Benner and The Challenges of Christian Soul Care:

Some of the qualifications for the Christian soul care worker Benner listed included: love for people (referenced Alan Jones); a deep experiential knowing of God's grace; and a deep faith that light will overcome darkness (referenced Jesuits William Barry/William Connolly).

Benner and How to Prepare for Soul Care:

Lastly, Benner writes because Christian soul care involves a deep engagement between oneself, with God, and with another person prior to participating in soul care one should engage in "the practice of contemplative prayer."  "Such prayerful solitude," says Benner, "is the womb of psychospiritual growth.  The space it creates allows for the birth of a transformed self." (p.231)

Final Thought:

Moore's soul care, and Benner's "Christian" soul care are built on the ideas of men/women most of whom could not be called born again Christians. Therefore, their words are, as Paul wrote to the Colossians, nothing but enticing words after the traditions of men, and after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ! 
Final Challenge:

In summary, our challenge would be to become true discerners who will not be beguiled by the enticing words of men, but  be grounded in the unchanging Word!  May we say with the song writer, "Just like the tree planted by the water, I will not be moved!"

Learn to Discern Granny Verses:  Colossians 2:6-8

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, ... Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reimer Loses His Way in "Pathways to the King:" A Review

Dr. Rob Reimer Loses His Way in  Pathways to the King: A Review

Dr. Rob Reimer, pastor of the Christian and Missionary Alliance South Shore Community Church, adjunct professor at the Alliance Theological Seminary, and speaker at various conferences has authored a book: Pathways to the King: Living a Life of Spiritual Renewal and Power.  To look inside is to learn how Reimer loses his way straying onto contemplative and kingdom now roads as he strives to experience, and expand God's kingdom on earth.

The Beginning:  Reimer's Renewal Pathways:

Reimer relates the church desperately needs renewal, and in order to reach this goal we must pursue intimacy with Christ.  To attain this goal there are eight pathways to the King from the first chapter's "Personalize Our Identity" to the final chapter's "Persist."

The Ending:  Reimer's Back Cover Endorsees:

Endorsements are given by Dr. Ron Walborn (Dean of ATS); Seth Barnes (Head of Adventures in Missions); Bishop Carlton T. Brown (Pastor, Bethel Gospel Assembly); and Rev.Tom Flanders (District Supt., CMA, New England).

Reimer's "Soul as a Container Image:" (p.22)

Reimer asks the reader to picture one's soul as a container with walls that thicken through sufferings.  If we process suffering well then we thicken the walls of our soul thus expanding our capacity to experience more of God.   If the walls of our soul are thin then we can't sustain the presence of God, and it will blow out the walls of our soul.  Curious!  Scriptural?  You be the judge.

Reimer's Spiritual Activities That Produce Kingdom Fruit:

Reimer suggests a number of activities to enable you to internalize truth about who God says you are- "from the pavement of your brain to the soil of your soul."  Then practice them "until it comes!" (revelation, awareness of God's presence)

Practice "Lectio Divina:"  (p.35)

To personalize our identity Reimer says to practice the ancient practice of divine reading, or lectio divina.  However, he neglects to say where this practice originated, nor who practices it today.  He doesn't make clear that lectio involves using meditative techniques akin to TM or Mindfulness.  He doesn't warn people, who quiet themselves, get comfortable, focus on a mantra word/phrase, and who go into silence, that they are opening themselves to other spirits.

In his March 2, 2014 sermon, "Feeding Our Souls with Scripture" Reimer teaches his entire congregation how to do lectio divina using Psalm 23.  Listen here:

For more information read this lectio resource: "Lectio Divina: What it Is-What it Is Not-And Should Christians Practice it?  Find here:

Practice "Imaginative Meditation:"  (p.36)

Reimer suggests using Jesuit Ignatian Imaginative Meditation where one visualizes oneself in the various scenes of a Bible story as another way to meditate.  This meditative method, by the way, is much used by one of Reimer very favorite authors- Ruth Haley Barton.  Reimer writes, "Feel it.  Hear all the sounds; see all the sights; smell all the smells; picture right there in the scene.  Soak in it."

Practice Pursuing "Intimacy with God:" (p.52-53)

Reimer reiterates over and over that God invites us to deep relationship --to intimacy with God.  Reimer writes, ""The Bible says that we are in Christ, and Christ is in us.  Paul uses these phrases...
This is what the ancients called 'Divine Union'  It's intimacy with God."  (Surely Paul was not one of "the ancients.")  On p.70 Reimer even makes mention that the O.T. uses "the image of God as our lover, our husband, and we are his bride."  The N.T. teaches, as well says Reimer, that Jesus is the bridegroom; and the church is the bride.  Such references make one think of the NAR's "Bridal Paradigm."

Practice "Something New!" (p.52, 56)

Whatever you're doing to pursue God, Reimer suggests, that you "up the ante" as: "Get up early.  Stay up late.  Sacrifice sleep.  Go on a fast.  Take a retreat.  Do something spiritually strenuous and sacrificial.  Take a trip. ..."  It seems as if Reimer, in his chasing of God, is running from one spiritual practice to another ever hoping to experience an even greater revelation.  Reimer instructs, "Practice his presence.  Go after it.  He is calling us to a divine union."

Practice "Short Prayer Retreats:"  (p.55)

Reimer encourages prayer done in "short prayer retreats" similar to what monks practice at a monastery.  If your mind wanders while you're attempting this, Reimer says to use a common meditative technique of just bringing your mind back to God.  Here again Reimer copies Catholic prayer rituals to further an unending pursuit of becoming more holy, and thus more ready as we partner with God to help bring his kingdom on earth as it is heaven.

Practice "Dream Interpretation:" (p.63-64)

Reimer had a reoccurring "sports bar dream"; he wrote the details in his journal.  And he retells the dream in the book adding his interpretation.  In this wild dream he meets a women who prays for him. Leaving the bar an enormous beast attacks; he fights back with a little sword.  A panther attack ensues followed by his being back in the bar meeting "a prophetess."  She tells him the N.O. Saints would win a Super Bowl; four years later they did as "God revealed."  Reimer then relates, "The Lord told me difficult times were coming; but I would have a sign."  And, he writes, this dream has kept me anchored until now.  Very strange!   I wondered after reading this dream if Reimer was familiar with "dreamwork" techniques that Thomas Moore and David G. Benner use in their soul care books as both authors are featured on his church resource page.

Practice "Listening for God's Voice:" (p.68)

Reimer states that, "The gift of the spirit is about a direct experience with God.  We will hear God's voice--through dreams, visions, and prophecy-- and that will authenticate the presence of God and draw people to direct experiences with Him.  This is for all God's people: men, women, and children."

Reimer's Blog Post:  In a 2011 blog post: "God Speaks. Are You Listening?" Reimer lists six ways God speaks to us today.  Number one was: "God speaks in an audible voice!"

Reimer's Sermon:  In his March 23, 2014 sermon: "Feeding Our Souls" Reimer repeats the six ways we hear God emphasizing we can hear him audibly--yes, aloud--today!  He even asks for a show of hands from his audience to who has heard God's audible voice!  Hear the sermon here:

E. Benz's Blog Post:  On the blog "Do Not Be Surprised" in "God Speaks but How?" Benz challenges Reimer.  Benz begins with a Justin Peter quote, "If you want to hear God speak, read your Bible.  If you want to hear God speak audibly, read your Bible out loud."  Benz adds, "Yes, the Lord speaks today ... through the closed canon and written revelation of His Word."  Benz also says that in spite of having the great word called the Bible congregations all over, do as Reimer does,and offer progressive revelation.

Benz also comments on Rob's 2011 blog noting that "The astute reader may notice something blaringly absent from this list (Reimer's six ways) ... he does not include that fact that God speaks through His Word!"

Read Benz' posts here:

Practice "The Presence:" (p.54)

Reimer tells us to the key to intimacy with God is his presence.  As an example Reimer holds up Monk Lawrence as someone who practiced the presence of God wherever he was.  We too can become more sensitive to this presence as we grow in intimacy.  To chase after that presence Reimer goes away to "the monastery" to draw close to Him.

Practice "Centering Prayer:" (p.56)

Reimer writes "old timers" used centering prayer.  Talk about vague!  Exactly who are these "old timers?"  Certainly, no one in scripture, for such a practice as "centering prayer" is not even mentioned in our Bibles.  Well, from all the references I've read, these "old timers" are the mystical
fathers and mothers of the desert as Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and many others.

Reimer speaks of the "old timers"  as praying the "Jesus Prayer" as a mantra to take them into their silence.  Reimer, as well, uses mantras in his meditation.  He repeats phrases like "Come, Holy Spirit," or "Sweet Jesus" over and over to go into an altered state to find "divine union."

In a Lighthouse Trails mini booklet So You Want to Practice "GOOD" Contemplative Prayer (also called centering prayer, breath prayer, and Jesus' prayer) Lynn Lusby Pratt writes, "I found that contemplative prayer is neither contemplative (thinking deeply) nor prayer (talking to God).  Instead, it involved a mantra ( a word or phrase repeated for ten to twenty minutes) as means for erasing thoughts."  She emphasizes, "The repetition induces an altered state of consciousness in which the practitioner senses a 'Union with the Divine' having presumably contacted the God of choice."

Read more here:

Practice "Monastery Retreats:" (p.51,53, 55, 109, 152)

Reimer reminds us in his book that he finds it needful to run to a nearby monastery to practice meditation or "the silence."  From what Reimer reveals in his "Pursuitcast Interview" with Sam the Seminarian, he returns frequently to "the monastery."

Where Is "The Monastery?"

And from what Rob has referenced in his past blogs "the monastery" he frequents is near to the Quabbin Reservoir.  Now, a close monastery to this reservoir is in Petersham, Ma.  Is this is the one that Rob goes to?  His recent interview with Sam gives a clue.  Rob relates that when he came to a place, while practicing the silence, where he felt so empty he went to a monk for help, and that monk was Father Robert.

From that information, it would seem that "the monastery" Reimer retreats to is run by "The Maronite Monks of Adoration" whose director is Rev. Robert Nortz.  Their web site says this is a Catholic Community of contemplative monks dedicated to prayer and Eucharistic Adoration.

How sad that Reimer should use his money (p.51), and his time to support a monastery that practices idolatry each time they bow down to worship the monstrance wafer during their time of Eucharistic adoration.  How sad Reimer is learning to pray as the monks do.  How sad that Reimer would even be at a monastery at all with the blessings of its CMA president, and others.

Something truly is wrong with this picture.  I pray CMA members might awaken and ask hard questions, and more than just ask questions some would arise, and take action.  I fear, from all we have been finding out just in our small congregation, the average CMAer, unless they were former Catholics, know little about true Roman Catholic beliefs, and somehow have the mistaken notion that all Roman Catholics are our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Former Catholic Mike Gendron, a godly and gracious evangelist, would contend otherwise.  He would beg you to become aware of how desperately Roman Catholics need the gospel, and that they are not one with us in Christ.  Please obtain more information here:

Practice Reading: (p.107)

Reimer shares he enjoys reading classic Christian authors as George Muller, or Charles Finney.  However, he neglects to inform the reader that along with these classics on his church resource page he mixes in many questionable, and heretical books by authors such as David G. Benner, Thomas Moore, Thomas Ashbrook, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, and the list goes on.  Here's just one very troublesome recommendation--pagan Thomas Moore's book Dark Nights of the Soul with New Ager Marianne Williamson's front cover endorsement.  (For further information about Moore please be sure to read my upcoming blog piece, "Beware!  Get to the Heart of Soul Care" where I will document Moore's pagan practices of praying to Gaia and scrying to name two.)

Reimer's Relationship to Bethel's NAR Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding, Ca.

Reimer and Bill Johnson: (p.94,129)

Reimer, apparently, has a high regard for the often heretical, and very controversial Bill Johnson.  Reimer refers to Johnson in his book as well as uses terms from Johnson's books.  Reimer features  Johnson' book  Strengthen Yourself in the Lord on his South Shore Community Church resource site.  In addition, Reimer used the same book in an Empowering Women 2013 Course: "The Kingdom of God" to teach a college credit course to CMA women.  And for his syllabus' biography he touts Thomas Ashbrook's Mansions of the Heart (about mystic Teresa of Avila) as a great book for spiritual intimacy which has inspired him to go places he had never been before!

Reimer in Redding:

Reimer is familiar with Johnson having been out to Redding  more than one time, for conferences at the Risen King Community Church (Ron Walborn's former church) in Redding.  This year Reimer, Walborn, and Risen King's pastor were joined by a "Spiritual Director" named Sarah Herring.

Who is Sarah Herring you may ask?  Well, she's someone tied closely to Bill Johnson's Bethel Church's Tony Stoltzfus.  She not only works with Tony at MetaFormation Institute, but she's contributed to a most disturbing book Questions for Jesus. Here's two examples: "Jesus, what do you like best about me?" and "Jesus, what's the first thing you want to do together when I join you in heaven?"  Stoltzfus' coaching materials, also, are used by CMA's Ingrid Davis at the college, and elsewhere.  See here and

Reimer & Kingdom Prayers: (p.114)
Reimer instructs, "Pray for Heaven to invade earth. (Title of Bill Johnson's book When Heaven Invades Earth)  That's kingdom praying. When we pray with more of God's presence, and more of the favor of God on our lives, because we are pursuing more of God, then we'll see more of Heaven invade earth when we pray."

Reimer & Raising the Dead: (p.114)

Reimer refers to Matthew 10:7,8 where it says: "And as ye go preach saying, "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils..."

Regarding this verse, Reimer says, "But when is the last time you raised a dead person?  Are you willing to say there is a gap in your soul between what Jesus taught and what you are experiencing?
According to Jesus, I should be raising dead people.  I have a gap. ... I am willing to pay whatever price is necessary.  That is kingdom praying.  I want to close that gap, and I want to see Heaven invade earth."

Bill Johnson too, as you may be aware, also believes raising the dead is possible.  In fact, they've practiced Grave Sucking" or "Grave Soaking" where someone lays on a grave of a revered saint to soak up that saint's anointing.

Reimer's Recent Pursuitcast Interview:

Recently Reimer did an interview with ATS student, Sam, who gushes over Reimer with reverential tones.  Reimer relates to Sam about his monastery visits, even says Sam should understand because Sam has been to the monastery with him.

During the interview Reimer spoke of Moses' "face to face" and "mouth to mouth" meeting with God.  Reimer even declares Moses was a "mouth to mouth lover of God!"  Shamed Moses hid his face, says Reimer, because he had an aversion toward  God coupled with father wound issues.  Find that in scripture!

Sam quizzes Reimer as to books he reads that promote intimacy.  Reimer tells how he enjoys reading Christian classics.  Sam, then, asks for additional recommendations.  Reimer replies that Ruth Haley Barton books are "fabulous reads."  (If you haven't read my older blog please do: "CMA's Rob Reimer Reads Ruth Haley Barton to Feed His Soul.")

Sam mentions, too, David Benner's book The Gift of Being Yourself and its meaningfulness to him.  Benner's book, by the way, is also featured on Reimer's South Shore Church web site.

To end the interview Sam asks Reimer what he feels is something that he does that most promotes revival.  Reimer answers that "the discipline of silence" which he practices at the monastery is the thing that most feeds his soul.  As a matter of fact, Reimer shares, he has just come off a two day monastery retreat.

To hear the podcast go here:

Pathways to Rome and to the New Apostolic Reformation:

In summary, Reimer has lost his way by returning over and over to the monastery, practicing Catholic meditative techniques, and influencing students and others to pursue these same pathways.
Above all, Reimer shows he sanctions rituals and practices Catholics use in order to work their way to heaven, or that NARites use to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth now.

What this review reveals is truly a heart breaking scenario for Reimer seems to honestly want to seek revival.  Oh, that he would get a true revelation into Rome and into the NAR where he's leading hundreds of others!

Learn to Discern Granny Verse:  Colossians 1:23

" ... Continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, ..."

July 2015 Update:  Please read my newest review: "River of Life, or River of Deception?" which is a review of Dr. Rob Reimer's second book (April 2015) River Dwellers

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A President John Stumbo Visit: An Exposure of the USA CMA's Position in Support of Contemplative & Roman Catholic Practices

A President John Stumbo Visit: An Exposure of the USA CMA's Position in Support of Contemplative and Roman Catholic Practices

In March my husband and I had a visit in our home from CMA President Dr. John Stumbo.  If you're shaking your head and wondering why--so were we as we felt as though we were "Little David" versus "Giant Goliath."  And if you're asking how this happened here is our story.

After several years of carefully documenting research on the CMA concerning Nyack, ATS, its dean, and instructors' immersion into spiritual formation, centering prayer, and Roman Catholic practices in January 2014 I wrote a personal letter to the CMA President Dr. John Stumbo.  Along with the letter I included documented articles found on my blog: "Learn to Discern Granny."

So you can see just how I approached the research content, and articles I had documented I will include parts of the letter here: 

January 2014

Dear Dr. Stumbo:

My husband and I, as a young married couple, attended _____ CMA Church under the loving leadership of _____. ...  And now in our retirement years we're once again attending a CMA church in _____.

Prior to our attending the CMA we were students at Houghton College.  ...  Along the way we attended other denominations (at least five others) including ...  And yes, we've been a part of all these groups.  So our view of evangelicalism is not narrow, but wide.

And so it was we had an awakening to become more discerning ....  And because the Lord had impressed upon us a desire to become better contenders for truth we began research ....  We read and reread Ray Yungen's A Time of Departing.  We discovered our alma mater ...  was into all things Emergent: ...

Since then we've been heavily into apologetic work ....  Because of our in-depth studies we began to understand about contemplative colleges and their dabbling in monasticism, frequenting monasteries, reading priests, practicing centering prayer, embracing Catholic practices, reading contemplative writers ....  The more we read, the more we realized how wide spread was the deception growing on Christian college campuses and seminaries ....

And because Ray Yungen (A Time of Departing) ...  quoted past CMA President Dr. Paul Bubna ... this led me to Nyack College to see Don Bubna (Paul's brother) had died; but what really caught my attention was the Philosophy Chair, Dr. James P. Danaher, had just published a book on contemplative prayer.  This concerned me greatly.  So the result was I began to carefully research Dr. Danaher, the Walborns, and others.  A friend, all her life in the CMA and former Nyack student, ... asked me to look into all of this more closely.  So we set up a blog so I could document my findings ...  This isn't a project I did lightly ....  This is something I had to do for I had discovered facts I could not turn away from for as a true believer I am commanded to stand up ... to contend ....  For  to whom much is given much is required ....

I particularly am appalled over the heretical things ... Danaher is into, is teaching, and is part of with dissident priest Father Richard Rohr.  I (we) have researched Rohr endlessly, and there is absolutely nothing you can give me (us) to defend any born again Christian uniting with, or teaching anything that concerns Rohr.  ...

When I listen to our dear friend _____ tell about the old days at Nyack, and know he has little idea that someone like ... Danaher is teaching impressionable young CMA students while venerating Father Richard Rohr ... and at the same time using language that is so reprehensible ....  It makes me want to cry out is there anyone ... that truly cares for those students, and soon to be CMA leaders?  Is there ... anyone who has seen all the You Tube videos of Danaher teaching The Naked Now  ...?
Is there anyone who has noticed Danaher took a sabbatical as an intern at Rohr's Action and Contemplation Center in New Mexico?  Is there not someone who has read ... Danaher ... contributed to Rohr's Oneing  Journal with the now heretical David G. Benner?  Is there no one who has noted that Dean Walborn has endorsed, along with Richard Rohr, two of James Danaher's books and one of Seth Barnes' books?  Is there no one ... who has called into question ... Walborn teaching centering prayer at Delta Lake ... recommending persons get away to Graymoor Monastery?  Is there no one who has read that Dr. Rob Reimer is feeding his soul on Ruth Haley Barton, and frequenting monasteries?  Has anyone ... knowledge that Leighton Ford ... endorser of Dr. Martin Sander's book and ministry ... is into all things contemplative?  Is there no one ... who would question how New Life Fellowship's Pastor Rich Villodas, affable as he is, hangs out with monks ... endorses all things contemplative while still being Nyack's 2013 alumni of the year?  Is there anyone left who would dare question the CMA's contemplative immersion ... into all things Roman Catholic?  Is there anyone has observed Walborn's ties to Prophet Tim Fox; and to NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) Bill Johnson of Bethel church ... Redding, Ca.?  ...  Please tell me that never again will students be told that reading Depth Psychologist Dr. David G. Benner, who has turned his back on all evangelicalism, will help them along on their spiritual journey.  Please tell me that never again will students ... sit under such heretical teachings as found in Rohr's The Naked Now!

Surely, for the sake of the godly heritage of the CMA, perhaps you will be the one to be convicted to stand for the truth, and for the gospel.  For the sake of all the godly members still left in the CMA who do not realize what deception has crept into their ranks, perhaps you will be the one convinced to return to the faith of our fathers.  I have absolutely no vendetta against any in the CMA ... I ... would plead with you as a ... leader of the CMA to dare to take a strong stand for the faith once delivered to the saints.  I will close with _____'s words that ring in our ears as we try to explain the things that have changed in the CMA: "Oh, but the CMA would never get into that!"  Would that they had not!

Sincerely in Christ: _____

Sending the letter to the Colorado Headquarters, via certified mail, I waited for a reply.  None took place.  But, I did notice, shortly thereafter, several things that I'd mentioned in the blog articles disappeared off the internet including the horrendous Danaher classroom You Tube videos teaching from the Rohr book as well as the Walborn Delta Lake Spiritual Formation Podcast List with the two nuns walking up the steep steps.  However, what I did note, documented in my blog "Nyack's Danaher Does It Again with Another Rohr Endorsement," was Danaher's newest book along with the heretical Rohr journal, were pictured on a January 2014 Arts and Sciences Facebook page.  This indicated to me that nothing had changed:  the You Tube videos and the online podcasts had just been hidden.

Fast forward to a March Sunday, two days prior to Stumbo's visit, we were informed that a letter from headquarters to our church had been overlooked, and that someone would meet that very week with us.  No details were given.  So you can imagine my surprise when I learned Monday afternoon that Stumbo himself would meet with us on the following day.

To Stumbo's credit one would have to admire him for his driving to our home, and for his actually taking the time to talk with us.  He was courteous, and for the most part listened politely.

As to the meeting, to start it seemed he questioned why it was that we took such a strong stand against Roman Catholicism?  "What is your problem with that?" he queried.  "Why would we not support such things as the silence?"  "Why would there be a problem with getting away to a monastery in this busy world?"  "Why would we have concerns over spiritual disciplines?"  "Wasn't Lectio Divina a great tool for scripture reading?"  "What about reading such books as St. John of the Cross?" 

Secondly, his real interest seemed to be to defend his good friends that had been named in the blogs.  However, a close reading of my blogs show I tried not to characterize any one in an unkind way. As I listened to Walborn's spiritual formation podcasts, for example, I felt he was totally well intentioned and well liked.  However, to be likeable and to be sincere, does not negate the fact that what one teaches can be sincerely wrong, and not in line with scripture.  Not only was Ron Walborn wrong, but outright deceptive when, for example, he taught undiscerning campers centering prayer practices that are nearly identical to TM techniques and told them this was "Christian."  Think too where these practices led Thomas Merton as he found his meditative practices to be just like his Buddhist friends of the East, and that this made them all one!

Thirdly, I was very careful to thoroughly document all I stated, and to keep my findings factual.  I felt Stumbo was astounded by all the information uncovered, and may have worried that this would spread farther.  When I mentioned my abundant documentation, as well as my notebooks of articles he admitted my work was documented all right!

To conclude, our thoughts about the visit are these:  Dr. Stumbo appeared to come to defend his friends, to defend spiritual disciplines, and to defend Roman Catholic practices.  It seems that he didn't intend to change any thing that has been happening, but rather to leave all just as it is.  We were taken aback by his acceptance of so many Catholic practices, and how deeply he is into this.  If we had known this before hand, I believe we would have asked him many more questions. 

Our response has to be: "Lord, we must continue to contend, to be bold, and to stand for truth no matter the cost.  We will not be deterred.  Lord, open the doors and the topics you want us to address.  May we ever be true to your Word."  From what we heard we were given a glimpse into the true position of the CMA, who like many other compromised denominations, seems to be on a path to joining with Rome which signals but another step in the direction of a one world religion as foretold in scripture.  May we with the Lord's help, along with other true believers, vow to always stand firm in the faith!

Learn to Discern Granny Verse:  I Peter 3:15

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"