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:" 


  1. My wife and I have been a member of the CMA for 9 years. We recently left the church. There are a number of reasons why, but the major one is their headlong stampede into the emergent and contemplative movement. We too have had a visit from Mr. Stumbo at our church. We too were/are disappointed. Our latest pastor is steeped in the College of Prayer and consequently the NAR movement as well. I was recently told I was not allowed to teach or preach anymore until I 'sat under the new Pastor for a year and was discipled by him,' in other words, for him to try and indoctrinate me into his heretical way of thinking. We have shaken the dust off of our feet after trying for years to get the leadership to remove the veil from the eyes. It is sad, but we are focusing on others who only want to listen to and follow the Truth. PLEASE keep up the good work and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words.

      In regard to the College of Prayer, we found the very same thing..

  2. I commend you for your research and proclamation of the truth regarding all things "Contemplative" within the CMA. My wife and I have been CMA members for over 30 years and over that time I have served as an Elder and in other leadership roles. I am saddened by what I have seen personally and have heard through stories such as your own.

    Just last month I felt obligated to speak with our pastor about the same issues you have raised. When I mentioned that contemplative prayer was nothing more than Roman Catholic mysticism, I was curtly told that this was part of "our" tradition. My jaw hit the floor at his response. When he then cited Psalms 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God", as scriptural proof that contemplative prayer was biblically prescribed, I realized we needed to find another place to worship.

    I have since found out that the pastor recently attended Pete Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Spirituality training (again), is in the doctoral program at Nyack's ATS where he has been immersed in "Spiritual Formation", and that other pastoral staff have been through Spiritual Formation" indoctrination at A.B. Simpson and Fuller seminaries. I have come to realize there is nothing a lay person in the CMA can do other than to earnestly pray that God remove the blinders from the eyes of CMA leadership and for the protection of those under their leadership.

    Our search for a new church has certainly been eye-opening since so many other denominations are also falling prey to this movement. Through this process, however, God has given us discernment and a renewed love for His Word. We know He will lead us on the right path.

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment. You are absolutely correct about other denominations falling prey to this movement; we have encountered it in various denominations. It is wide spread, and certainly not just part of the CMA! Lighthouse Trails Ministries does an excellent job of keeping one informed about the happenings across a wide spectrum of church affiliations.

      Please share our blog with any other CMAers who are unaware of what is happening. May you find a place where you can fellowship with believers who want to be Bereans. We enjoy a small group here in our home that has blessed us over and over.

  3. I have been in the CMA for about 30 years and have found the pastoral leadership varies greatly.Before our current pastor accepted the call to our church, my wife and I were ready to move on for such reasons stated in your article. The ironic thing is the pastors who did not attend CMA colleges, seemed to be the ones sincerely "on fire" for the Lord and committed to holy living and preaching the entire Word.

  4. My family started attending a CMA church three years ago. We had no knowledge of the CMA church at all. God took special means to assure me I was right where He wanted me to be before I came in contact with false teaching. Otherwise, I would have followed the same urge as others did to find a new church. I was very troubled by the health and prosperity preaching, healing guaranteed by the atonement, faith as a force, Covenant as entitlement, name it and claim it....etc. My father told me, however to stay and pray. He showed me how much He loved this pastor and wanted to teach him as well as us. I cannot leave until it is an act of faith. Because I have a degree in theology other members thought I should confront the pastor. I pray always about it as it may come to that, but for now I pray specifically what He tells me to. He is answering my prayers!! He is leading this pastor away from error step by step. I see Him pursuing him. I am devoted to fulfilling my role in this until He releases me. Before I was fearful, now I am grateful beyond measure. Sometimes we must flee sometimes stay and pray but always it must be an act of faith based on a revelation (a word) from God. I hope this is helpful to someone in these circumstances.

  5. Ron Walborn is speaking to us soon at a conference. I will be listening carefully.