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:
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:"