Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Book Review: To Unpack Roma Downey's Box of Butterflies Is to Discover a Core False Teaching

A Book Review:  To Unpack Roma Downey's Box of Butterflies Is to Discover a Core False Teaching


Have you ever received a package wrapped in the most attractive paper only to eagerly rip off its wrappings to find something inside you couldn't have imagined?  This is much like Roma Downey's beautiful new book Box of Butterflies for although its author is sincere and gracious, and its stories are inspirational and hopeful, when fully opened, one will discover a core false teaching that runs throughout its pages. And so, because Scripture reminds us to test all things, this review will attempt to unpack how its author incorporates this teaching throughout the book.

A Review:  Box of Butterflies:  Howard Books (An Imprint of Simon and Schuster) March 2018

Unpacking Its Foreword

Box of Butterflies begins with a short foreword by the late Della Reese with whom Roma had an extraordinary relationship that began with Della playing "Tess," Roma's partner-angel, on the well-known Touched by an Angel series. About Della, Roma wrote, "She has become the first person I call when I need wisdom, and she is a loving teacher and instructor." (p.36)  Such was Della's influence on Roma that she also became Roma's surrogate mother, a godmother to Roma's daughter Reilly, and the officiator at Roma and Mark's wedding.  (p.35) (p.132)

Della was also a pastor of the New Thought "Up Church."  New Thought teaches one that the Bible is just a book containing the sacred writings of any religion.  It believes too " ... in God, the living Spirit Almighty; one, indestructible, absolute, and self-existent Cause; and it believes " ...in the incarnation of the Spirit in US, and that all PEOPLE are incarnations of the One Spirit."  Dear reader, this is what Della believed, for Della Reese, along with such men as Eckhart Tolle, and Neale Donald Walsch, are listed among their "Modern Notable Members."  As Christian as Reese's foreword may seem, Reese's beliefs are unbiblical.
https://www.amazon.com/Box-Butterflies-Discovering-Unexpected-Blessings/dp/1501150936
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Thought

Unpacking Its "Introduction"

Mary Oliver
Roma's "Introduction" begins with Mary Oliver's poem: "I Have Decided."  Roma writes, "I love the poems of Mary Oliver ... there is something about the beauty and honesty of her poems that echoes the prayers of my heart.  She reminds me of the simplicity of faith, of how God's image is reflected in nature all around us, and when we are quiet we can connect to the stillness within ourselves, we can hear him speak." (p.1)

Here the question must be asked, "What do we know about Mary Oliver's beliefs?"  One answer can be found in "Maria Shriver Interviews Poet Mary Oliver" (Oprah.com)  As they discuss "religion" Oliver comments, "I've written before that God has 'so many names.'  To me, it's all right if you look at a tree, as the Hindus do, and the tree has a spirit.  It's mystery, and mysteries don't compromise themselves-we're never gonna know. ... I like to think of myself as a praise poet."  Shriver queries Oliver as to what this means.  Oliver replies, "That I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things."  It's worth noting too that Oliver often emphasizes paying "careful attention," and is listed over and over by mindfulness sites as a mindfulness poet.
http://www.oprah.com/entertainment/maria-shriver-interviews-poet-mary-oliver/1

While Oliver praises the world and whoever made these things, there is but one we are to praise for as Revelation 4:11 declares: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

Rumi
On page eight Roma quotes the poet Rumi or Jalal al-Din.  Rumi, a Sufi poet from the thirteenth century, has recently resurfaced to become beloved by such New Spirituality adherents as Deepak Chopra, and Demi Moore. Rumi, incidentally, was known for founding the "Whirling Dervishes" who while spinning round try to achieve "trance-like" states to reach God. (p.8)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi

Roma concludes the "Introduction" with this thought, "I pray this book is a moment of remembering for you.  A remembering of who you really are, how much God loves you, and that you are never, ever truly alone."

Unpacking Some of Its Poets/Authors

This book is packed full of quotations--one hundred twenty-eight of them in all--coming from a diverse array of authors and poets.  In addition, Downey includes twenty-eight Biblical quotes from various versions.

David Richo
Chapter one's first quote is from author, educator, and Jungian psychotherapist David Richo which reads, "Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us." (p.13)

This same Richo, in one of his "guided meditations," states "I never give up on reflecting that everyone has an innate goodness, and that being loved can evolve it."  And Richo teaches in
Coming Home to Who You Are:  Discovering Your Natural Capacity for Love, Integrity, and Compassion (Shambhala 2012) practices that can help us become "cheerful agents of the goodness that is in us all." Romans 3:10 however says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: ...."  https://davericho.com/  https://davericho.com/books/
http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/explorations/teachers/view/174/dave-richo
https://www.shambhala.com/authors/o-t/david-richo.html

Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore, the Bard of Bengal, is yet another poet that looks within. In "Sadhana" he wrote: "This is the ultimate end of man, to find the One which is in him, which is truth, which is his soul: the key with which he opens the gate of the spiritual life."  ("Tagore's Spiritual Legacy" Hinduism Today)  But, John 14:6 tells us of the only one that is truth-- the Lord Jesus.  It says: "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me." (p. 42)
https://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=1483

John O' Donohue
Celtic poet John O' Donohue, another poet Roma especially highlights, was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and philosopher who greatly admired Meister Eckhart and John of the Cross. (pp. 48-49)  He too echoed the other poets Roma admires when in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom he wrote, "The heart is the inner face of your life.  The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful.  It is here love gathers within you. ...   For love alone can awaken what is divine within you.  In love, you grow and come home to yourself."  According to Scripture though nothing is divine within us, for "The heart," Jeremiah 17:9 says, "is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked and who can know it?"  And I John 4:10 says too, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/post-and-author-john-o-donohue-laid-to-rest-1.928227

Derek Walcott
Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet and playwright, is another favorite poet that is named in Box of Butterflies.  Roma especially likes his poem "Love After Love"  (Walcott's Poetic Ode to Being at Home in Ourselves).  On her recent birthday she mentioned his poem.  Another person that enjoys the same poem is the "Father of Mindfulness" Jon Kabat-Zinn as he reads this poem as well as uses this poem in his classic work Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and The World Through Mindfulness. (2005)  ( p.176) 
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/21/love-after-love-derek-walcott/

David Whyte
One of Roma's well-loved poets is David Whyte whom she features four times in her book.  In "What Are You Like? Roma Downey" Roma shares with Irish America's Patricia Harty in answer to "What is on your bedside table?" that she keeps several poetry collections from her favorites: Rumi, Yeats, David Whyte, and Mary Oliver.
http://irishamerica.com/2013/09/what-are-you-like-roma-downey/

Presently Whyte, of both English and Irish extraction, is an American poet and speaker.  He also is a Zen Buddhist  practitioner who has spoken at gatherings, e.g. two "Wake Up Festivals" in Estes Park, Colorado.  Publisher of Sounds True, Tami Simon, in "David Whyte On Being at the Frontier of Your Identity," interviewed him on "Insights at the Edge" podcast.  In it she mentioned that
Whyte had produced a Sounds True audio, and was to be part another "Wake Up Festival."

Later in an Elephant Journal interview "Meet Tami Simon, Publisher of Sounds True" by Edie Lazenby, Simon shared that Wake Up participants would listen to teachers (like Adyashanti and Jack Kornfield), poets ( like David Whyte and Mark Nepo), and musicians (like Snatam Kaur and Norini Ni Riain).  And she added that Matthew Fox would lead the entire community in a three-hour immersive "Cosmic Mass."  Just these interviews alone make clear why Whyte's poetry would not be poems a born again believer should seek to learn from.
https://www.soundstrue.com/store/david-whyte-author.html
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/29/david-whyte-belonging/
https://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/06/meet-tami-simon-publisher-of-sounds-true/

Robert Holden
In Box of Butterflies, Roma includes a full page quote from a man deep into the New Age-- Robert Holden. (p. 202)  Holden is an author, broadcaster, coach, and public speaker.   Holden has also
worked with Oprah Winfrey having been on her show.  In addition Holden hosts a weekly talk show sponsored by the well-known New Age publisher Hay House founded by the late Louise Hay.

Holden has written two books Happiness Now, and Loveability which are based on A Course in Miracles known as The New Age "Bible." Loveability, by the way, is endorsed by the well-known New Ager Marianne Williamson.
https://www.robertholden.org/loveability/

Holden is also connected to two of Roma's friends --Ron and Mary Hulnick-- from her studies at the New Age University of Santa Monica, Ca. where Roma received her Master's Degree in Spiritual Psychology.  While Roma Downey endorsed the Hulnick's book: Loyalty to Your Soul, Robert Holden has endorsed the Hulnick's newest book: Remembering the Light Within.  Both are published by Hay House.  It must be noted too that Robert Holden co-wrote a book with Louise Hay herself titled Life Loves You.
https://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Light-Within-Course-Soul-Centered/dp/1401949762

Recently, in "Loyalty to Your Soul's" Facebook post it shows Holden with the Hulnicks advertising: "The Soul-Centered Enneagram" program done together.  Just above, a post can be seen telling about Roma Downey's March 1, 2018 interview with Dr. Oz.

Unpacking Some of Roma's "Angels Along the Way"*

Roma has an army of "angels" which have endorsed her book--authors, poets, Hollywood stars, T.V. hosts, cardinals, pastors, friends, and more.  All eighty endorsements are listed on Roma's web site: http://boxofbutterflies.com/testimonials.html

*  The title, too, of a book written by Della Reese.

In the book there are twenty-two testimonials in two endorsement sections: two pages to begin the book (pp.I, II) and two pages to end the book (pp.245-246). On the back cover there are six more key endorsers.

Tony Robbins
On the very first page in the center one can read self-help guru Tony Robbin's comment that Roma will help you find strength within to take you places you've never imagine. (p. I)

"#Unleased: Mark Burnett and Roma Downey" is a video from October 2014 showing their family at a Tony Robbin's conference.  Mark mentioned it had been an "epic weekend" while Roma chimed in what "extraordinary days they had had."  She said she felt as if she'd be cracked open, and her fears blasted away as light came pouring in.  Mark promised to come back again and again.  View the
video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrXchB1Kyps

Robbins wrote Unshakeable (2017) which Mark Burnett endorsed saying, "What Tony gave me, ... was to take risks, to take action, and really become something. ...  I'll be back for more ... again."  Another endorser was Oprah Winfrey who wrote, "Tony's power is superhuman.  He is a catalyst for getting people to change."  As Gregory Reid records in Confused by an Angel, Roma is an avid reader of New Age/New Spirituality writers such as Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle, both of whom are "worlds away from Biblical truth." (p.6)
https://www.amazon.com/Unshakeable-Your-Guide-Financial-Freedom/dp/1471164934

Arianna Huffington
A back cover endorser Huffington, past co-founder of editor of the Huffington Post, is now CEO and founder of Thrive Global Foundation.  Huffington's best-seller Thrive, according to "The Mindfulness Summit" speaker's bio, is "focused on how we can move ... to actually to what's best for us.  In it she contends that "mindfulness is at the core of everything."  Huffington, the bio states, has been "a regular meditator since the age of thirteen."
https://themindfulnesssummit.com/speaker/arianna-huffington/

In Thrive's Preface (p.XVI) she noted, "... This has been the year in which discussion about well-being and mindfulness broke through in a big way--... Much more today than ... when Thrive was first published, these discussions are no longer considered 'alternative' or new age-y; they are now firmly part of the mainstream."  After Huffington reflected, " ... we all have within us a centered place of wisdom, harmony, and strength.  This is a truth that all the world's philosophers and religions ... acknowledge in one form or other: 'The kingdom of God is within you.'"
https://www.amazon.com/Thrive-Redefining-Success-Creating-Well-Being/dp/0804140863

Incidentally, Huffington, like Robert Holden above, also endorsed Ron and Mary Hulnick's (Roma's mentors) newest book Remember the Light Within. (Hay House).  Huffington also published a piece by another Hay House author quoted by Roma (p.30) --Christina Rasmussen, a widow, who wrote Second First: Live, Laugh, and Love Again.  Its end notes tell the story how Rasmussen too has numerous New Spirituality references and connections.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Rasmussen
https://ronandmaryhulnick.com/

Dr. Mehmet Oz
Dr. Mehmet Oz, a New Age physician, author, and television personality, is another back cover endorser.  On March 1, 2018 Facebook's University of Santa Monica's (Roma's alma mater) "The Heart of Spiritual Psychology" posted: "Roma Downey, a beloved USM grad, sat down with Dr. Oz last week.  She spoke of the loss of her mother, her faith, and how she came to realize that everyone has God-given gifts that we are meant to share."  https://www.doctoroz.com/episode/true-crime-thursday-could-happen-you-could-you-be-target-kidnapping-scam?video_id=5742626906001

In Current Movie Reviews: "Dr. Oz: Roma Downey Talks about How Her Faith Has Sustained and Molded Her Life" Linda Pena tells of Roma's Dr. Oz interview where Roma told her story of faith.  At the end of the article is a bio that tells in 2009 how Roma and Mark received an honorary doctorate of law at Pepperdine University, how in 2010 Roma graduated from the University of Santa Monica with a master's degree in Spiritual Psychology, and … how Roma has an honorary degree, a  Doctor of Letters from Nyack College.*
http://www.current-movie-reviews.com/48020/dr-oz-roma-downey-talks-about-how-her-faith-has-sustained-and-molded-her-life/

*  A Christian College:  Read my 2014 article "New Age Leaning Roma Downey Tells Nyack Grads to Be Lightworkers" on my blog "Learn to Discern Granny."      

Unpacking "Evangelical" Endorsements

The endorsement responses to this book make one want to cry out in astonishment.  Yes, the stories are touching, and some scripture is mixed in but the thread "we are all God's beloved children" leaves no doubt what the book is teaching.   How apt is the title of Gregory Reid's excellent Lighthouse Trails 2015 booklet--Confused by an Angel-- for surely today as then the confusion and deception continues unabated.
https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16968

Exactly who are some of these "so-called Evangelicals" who rave over Roma's every word?  Below are a few key names and a few key words/phrases taken from their testimonials which reveal their reactions to her book:

Rick and Kay Warren, pastors, Saddleback Church: (Back Cover, Top Endorsement):  "...full of life and love, hope and inspiration …."

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president National Day of Prayer, Senior Pastor Cross Church, and immediate past president, Southern Baptist Convention: (p. II)  "... a profound collection of God's great promises that are overflowing with hope!"

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: (p.246)  "Every so often a person comes along who possesses that remarkable combination of passionate faith and natural authenticity... that God can use them to change the world and transform hearts.  Roma ...is just that kind of person, …" (p.246)

Andy and Sandra Stanley, authors, communicators, and founders, North Point Ministries, Alpharetta,
Georgia: (p. 246)  "In this moving book Roma shares the source of light she has been beaming to the world …."

Pastor John C. Hagee, founder and senior pastor, Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas: (p.246)  " … I encourage you to get several copies of this stunning book that provides a window into the serene majesty of God's creation."

These are but a few of the effusive endorsements that make one want to shake one's head in utter amazement.  How spot on were Gregory Reid's comments regarding "The Implications" for the average Christian who listens to a Downey CD, reads a Tony Robbin's book, or even peruses a New Thought web site and wonders "... what else Roma has done?"  Will they listen to, and read such materials, asks Reid, going on later to be deceived by another Jesus?  Reid wrote, "This will be the 'fruit' of … Downey's influence on millions of people, both Christian and non-Christian.  Where are the warnings by Christian leaders, and pastors about dangerous seductions coming into the church and compromising truth?  (p.13)

Unpacking Roma's Catholic Associations

In her "Introduction", Roma states that she's been "a person of faith all her life," but doesn't indicate that her faith was Roman Catholicism, and is to this day.  She shares that it was always time for prayer and gratitude to God in their Derry, Ireland home.

She tells how as a young girl, after losing her mother to a sudden heart attack, that just as she was placing flowers on her mom's grave a wee butterfly flew from behind it. Her dad, says Roma, told her that must be her mother's spirit right there.  Ever after special sightings of butterflies have always made her feel as if her mother was sending her a message. (p.2)

In the "Love" chapter's "Mother of God" story Roma tells how much she was touched by playing the role of "His Blessed Mother Mary" in the Bible series. (p.140)  John Feister, in "Roma Downey's "Little Angels," wrote how her own mom's death drew Roma to be very devoted to the "Holy Mother."  And, wrote Feister, as an adult she had been "several times" to Lourdes, Fatima, as well as Knock.*
*  Catholic holy sites where apparitions of Mary have appeared.
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/roma-downey-s-little-angels/

Beliefnet author Peggy Bowers also noted Roma's adoration of Mary after her mother's death. Roma  told Bowers, "At that time I began my lifelong devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.  I needed her more than ever, so I have a wonderful relationship with Mary as part of my daily prayer routine.  She stepped in to mother me when my own mother had passed."  But, no where in our Bibles are we ever told to pray to Mary, for Mary was a sinner like you and I.
http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/galleries/devout-catholic-celebrities.aspx?p=4
 
In her book Roma lists Catholic rituals as praying of the rosary, performing the sign of the cross, sprinkling holy water, and lighting candles as meaning so much to her.  (pp.167-169)  Also within the chapters she quotes Catholics such as Julian of Norwich, Mother Teresa, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, John O'Donohue, Antoine DeSaint-Experty, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Mary Lou Kovnachi, St.Patrick, St. Francis, John Eagan, and others.

Irish America's  "What Are You Like Roma Downey?"* Roma mentions she keeps her father's rosary by her bedside.  Regarding the reciting of the rosary John Feister (Franciscan Media) writes as he interviewed Roma, she recalled how strict her father was requiring the children to kneel each night on the linoleum floor to pray the rosary.  While this wasn't always welcomed, she noted her home was filled with "holy pictures and holy statues" which was such a beautiful thing.

Roma in "Act of Faith" (Independent) relates that today her daily morning routine includes a recitation of the rosary.  She admitted her teen children at that time rolled their eyes at that.  But she feels if one wants a relationship with their creator, a daily form of prayer is needed.  Roma attends mass each week at Our Lady of Malibu Parish.

Glowing endorsements inside the book, and on the back cover are given to Roma from such prominent Catholic clerics as Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston (back cover); Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles (p.I); Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Bishop Robert Brown, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles (p.II); and Rev. Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (p.246)

*  Note:  In this same question and answer article Roma is asked: "What is the best opening line in a book or a piece of music?  To which Roma replied, "There Are the Days" by Irish Belfast rock star musician Van Morrison.  Later research revealed that this past year Roma had had a rare interview with Van Morrison on her news website Lightworkers.com.  And recently in May, Roma tweeted:  "Van Morrison and me, his number one fan."
https://www.thesun.ie/tvandshowbiz/music/1620111/notoriously-shy-music-legend-van-morrison-opens-up-on-struggle-to-create-new-music-as-he-admits-hes-constantly-focused-on-self-improvement/
https://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2017/10/04/roma-downey-launches-lightworkers-to-lift-your-heart/23233142/

Now it is known that Van Morrison had said of religion, "I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole."
Therefore, a Belfast Telegraph headline: "Van Morrison Has Religious Experience During LA Service" got lots of attention.  What was this all about?  For starters Van Morrison had "live streamed" services from the Culver City, Ca. "Agape International Spiritual Center," A New Thought Church, (like Della Reese's church) becoming friends with its leader Dr. Michael Beckwith.  Beckwith then invited Van Morrison to sing for the church three different times hailing Beckwith as "a brother."  These eye-opening online services can be seen on video exposing the deep deceptions practiced in this mega New Thought center.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/news/van-morrison-has-religious-experience-during-la-service-35867612.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape_International_Spiritual_Center
       
Unpacking the "Stillness" Chapter

Chapter five encourages stillness.  Roma comments, "We're a nation of doers. ... But, if we want peace, we must stop."  Stop what you ask?  "Stop our working.  Stop our talking.  Stop even our praying.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Make space.  Listen to the whispers of our hearts.  It is only in the quietness ... that we can hear the voice of God."  Biblical?  No, this is the recipe for meditation.  (p.161)

Roma then inserts a Mary Oliver poem titled "Praying."  Olive suggests one pay attention, say a few words, get silent, and "another voice may speak."  And the question is:  "Whose voice will that be?"
(p. 164)

Roma goes on, "Stillness brings you into the present moment.  We are often fixated on something that happened in the past or worried about what might happen in the future that we completely miss the now!" (p. 166)  This is a description of mindfulness meditation--the words are all here--present moment, the past, the future, and the now.  Don't miss this!

"No matter what you think about meditation," suggests Roma, "there is something to be said for developing the skill to quiet your mind."  She adds, "Whether you say the Rosary, simply count your breaths, or call out to God, meditation frees your mind of the noise and clutter; it gets you into a space of oneness and availability." (p.167)  Red flag!  This is not biblical meditation for it does not free up your mind, rather it occupies your mind thinking and contemplating on the Word of God!

Roma believes, "You see the holy is everywhere.  It is in the sun and the moon and the stars.  It is in you and me.  We often go looking for it. ... But it is here.  Already here.  In you and me. ...  We just have to stop, and breathe, and listen.  And we see that it has been in us all along."  (p.178)

On this very teaching Gregory Reid writes, "The New Age that ... Downey promotes exalts man to an equality in holiness, virtue, and essence with God.  If indeed the New Age is right and man is really divine, then the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the Cross would not be necessary.  And in fact ... then Jesus dying for the sins of the world would be of no effect and would be in vain for He would have died for those who were just as holy and good as He was." (p.13)

Unpacking the "Home" Chapter

The final chapter "Home" spells out clearly the message Roma wants readers to take from the book beginning with The Wizard of Oz quote where Dorothy says, "There's no place like home." (p. 204)  Later, Roma writes, "True home is within us."

Gregory Reid helps unlock this "home within" when he notes that the University of Santa Monica teaches New Age ideas from the late John Rogers called MSIA or Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness through which a person submits to the Christ or God within.  Reid quotes MSIA as teaching: "... (T)o be an initiate of the Traveler is to devote yourself to the God within you, to devote yourself to Spirit, to returning to your home, the Soul, from which you originally came before you were incarnated onto this earth. ..."  (p.4)  Reid also quotes Rogers as saying, "If you feel you aren't worthy of God, ... then stand up.  Face God on equal terms as a co-creator and one who also owns the sun, moon, and the stars."  (p.5)

Roma continues when we "fully awaken to God" we'll know we aren't merely caterpillars, but beautiful butterflies with wings.  Below she quotes psychiatrist Gerald G. May, of the Shalem Institute, who says we've all forgotten who we are and the fact is "we have already been found."
Right beside May's quote is the old hymn "When We All* Get to Heaven."  Heartbreaking, it is that Roma truly believes all of us  are going to be there. (pp. 208-209)
*  My emphasis

"God's Calling Card" is a story within the chapter where Roma contends your loved ones who have died are still surrounding you.  Speaking of loved ones, Roma herself had a psychic medium channel her mother whom Roma lost as a young girl. These ever-close loved ones, says Roma, " ... show me that the veil between this world and the next is just, a thin veil.  We are closer than you think, though we may feel so far.  Separation is just an illusion." (p.212)

After Roma relates how she'd won a prize at a raffle--a beautiful butterfly ring.  Roma was so touched she cried for she felt once again her deceased mother was sending her a message.  She wrote, "Those moments were so validating to me.  I then understood that my dead mother is still reaching out to me.  That I will see her again.  That I will be reunited with the loving energy of my mom and dad." 

I Thessalonians 4:16-18, though, tells what will happen if one knows the Lord Jesus personally as one's Savior.  It reads, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

Still another story in this chapter "The Remembering" begins with a S.J. John Eagan (Jesuit Liberation Theology priest) quote:  "Define yourself radically as one beloved by god.  This is the true self.  Every other identity is illusion." (p.218)  But, the Bible declares our true selves are sinful for as Romans 3:23 reminds us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  Romans 5:8 also says too: "But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Yes, God loves us, and offers us salvation through repentance of our sins trusting in his death on the cross.

Specifically what is it Roma wants us all to remember?  She puts it this way, "I hope throughout the book you've come to remember: We are all beloved children of God."   She tells us in stillness and quiet she knows who she is--"God's beloved." (p.218)  Could it be that this belief came from New Thought?  Listen to these definitions taken from a New Thought Glossary:  Beloved Son--the divine unique individualization of God which every man is.  And To be Born Again: A resurrection from the belief that we are separated from God or perfect Life into the understanding that "Beloved, now are we the sons of God."

Roma goes on, "If we are all God's children, then it means we are all one family." (p.221)  Scripture says although all are created in God's image, all are not God's children unless they are born again.  Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:7, "Ye must be born again."  John 1:12 says it best, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons God even to them that believe on his name."  And  I Timothy 2:4 says, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth."

Roma reemphasizes we're all searching for home.  She states,  "We are all the family of God.  We forget.  We get caught up in separation.  But we are all one family.  We belong to each other, like Mother Teresa taught."  While we search for "home," she avows, "...it is within that we find it.  Our home is knowing that we are God's beloved children; and no matter how dark life can feel, He is always there to guide us, comfort us, and shelter us." (P.222)

To reinforce this she uses a Frederick Beucher quotes which reads, "... the fact we have all walked in different gardens and knelt at different graves, we have all humanly speaking come from the same place and are heading out into the same blessed mystery that awaits us all." (p.224)  Roma finishes once more, "I'm sorry God, for forgetting the truth, ... that we all are one family and that is where we find home. ..."

How very confused is Roma, and the many thousands who have been influenced by her.  And how pathetic and deceptive of those who call themselves born again Christians that they should hold on to her coat tails, and gush over this book using the most expressive superlatives to describe it and yet they do not give the gospel. May the Lord unveil the eyes of those who have been guilty of this, and awaken them that all is not love, and kindness but it a matter of where a soul will spend eternity.  May some instead awaken, and share the true gospel.

Our Responsibility: Rise up! Wise up! Wake up! Speak up!  

In the end, regardless of what some are suggesting, what is our responsibility when looking into this book? I submit it is our responsibility to lovingly research, and to examine its contents holding them up against the light of Scripture as those in Thessalonica did in Acts 17.

Yes, it's our responsibility to search out Scripture so as to explain why we aren't all children of God, and to share how one can become a child of God.  Yes, it's our responsibility to become familiar with such terms as : "the true self" or "true identify" or "the home within" as used in this book so we may warn others of this false belief.  And yes, it's our responsibility to research unbiblical teachings such as "New Thought," and contrast it to a Biblical viewpoint.  Therefore, let us rise up, wise up, and wake up.  And let us stand up, and speak up never being ashamed to hold to the gospel "for it the power of God to salvation to everyone that believeth." (Romans 1:16)

How wonderful to be able to say with the hymn writer: "My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name.  On Christ the solid Rock, I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand."

Learn to Discern Granny Verses:  I Thessalonians 5:21-23

"Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

For More Information:

Gregory Reid's booklet Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey's New Age Beliefs is an excellent resource.  I recommend it highly!  Get it at www.lighthousetrails.com. 

        



9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this feature story. It was hard to read the statements by the men of faith I follow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one should be following them anymore.
      We need to be following Jesus.

      Delete
    2. No one should be following them anymore.
      We need to be following Jesus.

      Delete
    3. We need to pray for discernment more than ever during these last days. I must admit I enjoy some of the writings of some of these authors but I certainly don't endorse or follow their beliefs (or lack of). Again, the key here is discernment and remembering that if it doesn't agree with God's Word, it's just wrong...beware!

      Delete
  2. The organized church in America as a whole is gone. If it isn't new age teaching it's cultural marxism, entertainment, etc., anything but sola scriptura. If the rapture isn't soon Bible believers will soon have to go underground to survive being engulfed by the enemy. God called me out of churchianity in 1973, thankfully before things got so bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s the great apostasy of 2 Thes 2:3...the ‘falling away’ (apostasia) of Christians (becoming non-Christian). Apostasy means a rejection of something once accepted (or unbelief in something once believed). So this falling away is not unbelievers falling away from the truth but believers falling away. Yikes!

      Delete
  3. Thank you for this article. Daystars Joni and Marcus Lamb have promoted this book and promote Roma by having her on their programs at times. Hagee is a great disappointment. He used to preach against the very apostasy that he now accepts, e.g. Joel. I don't understand this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds more like the book should be entitled, A Closet Full of Moths.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks so much for this very comprehensive and informative article.

    As long as Christians refuse to know their Bible... they’ll be ripe for the pickin’ by Satan’s evil ones down here. So my main question is...where is the gospel in all this? Does Roma Downey with all her supporters just ignore it any more?

    ReplyDelete