*UPDATE* Below I refer to, and quote from, an article which is entitled Slaughtering Sacred Cows: Part 3 “The Felt-Presence of God” by Frank Viola and provided an online source. Apparently Frank Viola has had the access to this source blocked as now if you go there you’ll see:

However, the article in question is also online elsewhere at websites that have nothing to do with Apprising Ministries, and we do already have the hard copy on file as well. We’re currently experiencing difficulties with our AM Contact Form but we have an alternate account for email at: apprisingministries@gmail.com

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:8-10, ESV)

Heresy And Apostasy Hardens One’s Heart

This is a bit of a follow-up to the Apprising Ministries post Mike Morrell On Matthew Fox, John Wimber, And The Emerging Church that basically introduces you to this largely behind-the-scenes networker within the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church. In Tie That Binds ‘Emergent’ Church, which is a piece that ran in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in September of 2004 we found out:

Michael Morrell keeps the emergent church network informed with a Web site that promises ‘the best Jesus-infused sites you never knew about.’ If you could imagine a religious movement with no denomination, no property and no living charismatic figure, then you might grasp what drives young Mike Morrell, a postmodern Christian activist trolling in the lively headwaters of what has become known as the emergent church.

Morrell, 24, a self-employed writer and editor born in Marietta and reared in Douglasville, has become one of the movement’s linchpins, connecting thousands of previously disconnected people and emergent groups through the Internet… As an editor for “the Ooze,” Morrell keeps in touch with the central people and ideas sparking the movement… (Online source)

I told you that his ongoing association with The Ooze also includes The Ooze Viral Bloggers;  so the bottom line is, anyone actually familiar with the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church knows of Mike Morrell. And in typical fashion around EC cricles with their existential rebellion against Sola Scriptura it’s all one big joke:

LOL – LOL – LOL – I’ve now received my *most complete treatment yet* from heresy-hunter supreme, Ken Silva! I’ve… http://bit.ly/bLaobj (Online source)

Now concerning Frank Viola, it is interesting to note that in the Biography section of Personal Testimony Ministry, which is billed as “The Official Website Of Christian Author & Speaker Frank Viola,” the endorsement we read is that of Mike Morrell:

Frank Viola is a prophetic voice in the contemporary Christian milieu. Through his prolific publishing and conference-speaking output, Frank has informed, challenged, and deepened the spiritual lives of many over the past decade, myself included. Frank’s pen played a key role in introducing me to knowing Jesus in an organic community of God’s friends, combining meticulous research and firsthand experience into books that capture heart and mind. He brings years of alternative church experience to the table, offering fresh (even radical, “to the root”) thinking to bear on old questions, while pioneering new questions few have asked.

I’ve found in my own circles of friends that Frank’s writing and speaking appeals to a broad cross-section of people in my lifeevangelicals and post-evangelicals, charismatics and contemplatives, as well as my curious friends not on a Christian path. He seems to have the ear of both the ever-growing organic church movement and the emerging/missional church conversation like few others. Frank’s love for God, his provocative writing and teaching, and his church planting experience make him a vital voice in our timeI look forward to much more to come! Mike Morrell, editor for The Ooze and contributor to Next-Wave, the Burnside Writers Collective, and Relevant Magazine.
(Online source)

A bit ago I was made aware of Frank Viola joins with Emergent Church’s Leonard Sweet in writing new book, a post that went online yesterday at Truthspeaker’s Weblog. While I do not know this person I found out that they referred to a “report from Herescope (source)”; the Herescope post being spoken of is The Other Side of Emergent: The New Apostolic Reformation on June 1, where we’re told:

Today is the launching of a new book, co-authored by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. This marks the open marriage of the Emergent movement with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Sweet and Viola’s book, Jesus Manifesto, is subtitled “Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ,” and it pushes the envelope on redefining Jesus, including “You can be a Jesus Manifest.”[2] A quick glance at the lineup of key endorsers for this book includes a list of who’s who in Emergent, the Latter Rain cult, neoevangelicalism and the New Apostolic Reformation. (Online source)

The writer of the aforementioned post at Truthspeaker’s then goes on to say:

Frank is now doing and promoting contemplative prayer his theology is completely corrupted. (Reported here on this blog) (Online source)

Now who should show up in comments section of that short post to defend Frank Viola on a blog I’d never even heard of before but Mike Morrell, who really does seem to have a case of the giggles lately. Morrell mentions:

LOL – Frank has been into ‘contemplative prayer’ for nearly 20 years; this is nothing new or ‘corrupting.’ You should try it sometime – you might find that God loves you. :)
(Online source)

When we follow the link supplied by the author of the post above we are taken to the Frank Viola section of that blog where an article from September of 2009 called Frank Viola Promotes New Age Contemplative Spirituality caught my eye. You may know that Apprising Ministries has been documenting and covering, e.g. in Using Contemplative/Centering Prayer As “Christian” Meditation, the rapidly growing influx of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) right into the timid heart of the squishy evanjellyfish pretending to be Protestant community.

I’ve told you that, by far, the largest purveyor of this spiritual skubalon would be the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin, Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard, both teaching the same spurious spirituality. Bob DeWaay, pastor of Twin City Fellowship, who also heads the excellent online apologetics and discernment ministry Critical Issues Commentary now reveals the root problem concerning Foster’s refried version of Counter Reformation Roman Catholic mysticism:

Foster’s “journey inward” is unbiblical and dangerous…[w]hat he calls “means of grace” are no means of grace at all—but a means of putting oneself under spiritual deception. The Bible nowhere describes an inward journey to explore the realm of the spirit. God chose to reveal the truth about spiritual reality through His ordained, Spirit-inspired, biblical writers. What is spiritual and not revealed by God is of the occult and, therefore, forbidden.

We have discussed this in many articles and have produced DVD seminars on the topic. But the concept of sola scriptura is totally lost on mystics such as Richard Foster. They, like the enthusiasts that Calvin and Luther warned against, believe they can gain valid and useful knowledge of spiritual things through direct, personal inspiration. Foster describes the idea of the disciplines that are the topic of his book: “The classical Disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths. They invite us to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm.” [1]

 So Foster has conceptually repudiated sola scriptura on page one to replace it with a journey inward to explore the realm of spirits. Something must have been seriously amiss in evangelicalism already in 1978 to render this book a bestseller! It ought to have been repudiated on the spot. In a footnote to that statement Foster writes, “In one form or another all of the devotional masters have affirmed the necessity of the Disciplines” (Foster: 1).

The devotional “masters,” by the way, are mostly Roman Catholics who never were committed to the principle of sola scriptura. It is not surprising that they looked for spirituality through experimentation. But as an “inner light” Quaker, Foster never was committed to sola scriptura either. (Online source, emphasis his)

You may remember that, in the November 2004 Christianity Astray Today article “The Emergent Mystique,” no less an authority than EC guru Brian McLaren himself informed us Foster and Willard were “key mentors for the emerging church.” [2] Their corrupt, critical thinking skills-numbing, shtick is this romanticized anti-Sola Scriptura mysticism-lite, which has long been perpetrated now as so-called Spiritual Formation. Sadly, the church visible will “soon” paying a heavy price because the mainstream has been using its young as spritiual guinea pigs with this sinfully ecumenical spirituality.

One need only look at what it’s done to the nearly dead mainline denominations, now quite literally being ripped apart by the homosexual lobbies already embedded within them. Yet this teaching is absolutely critical for the new big tent progressive Liberalism 2.0 now being spread as the spiritual cancer Emergence Christianity by the Emerging Church 2.0; the reason being, this form of postmodern Progressive Christianity is more metaphysical and existential i.e. centered of self than was the original Cult of Liberalism, which you’ll recall was also known as “modern theology.”

A Place For Spurious Spiritual Peas In The Corrupt Spiritual Pod Of The Emerging Church 

That Frank Viola, co-author of the new book Jesus Manifesto with  Emerging Church “evangelical” theologian Leonard Sweet, would be practicing meditation in an altered state of consciousness aka Contemplative/Centering Prayer “for nearly 20 years” will probably come as a surprise for those, who like Mike Morrell, would consider Viola and Sweet to be conservative mainstream evangelicals:

Len Sweet is hardly ‘emergent’ – by his own standard and those who are emergent (like myself). Haven’t you read his recent post on the matter? Both Sweet and Viola are conservative, evangelical Christians. W[hy] we have to endlessly draw out differences and shoot our own is beyond me. (Online source)

Another who would hold the above opinion is pastor Michael Newnham aka the Phoenix Preacher; but the question that needs to be asked is: When has contemplative spirituality ever been a part of Protestant evangelical theology? However, this information concerning Frank Viola would really seem to shed much more light on my earlier post Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola, And Mystic Meister Eckhart where I began to look at Sweet’s statement referenced by Morrell. It would also serve to explain why Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough, host of the Fighting for the Faith program on Pirate Christian Radio, said yesterday:

I have to take serious issue with the theology of this book.  In the introduction Sweet and Viola say:

The historic Christian creeds are an expression of the need to answer Jesus’ “Who do you say I am?” question. But that “you say” is contextual. Each new generation, in every culture, is given a “you say.”

This is just a flat out lie.  When Jesus asked the “Who do you say I am?” question, the answer given by Peter was NOT contextual, it was eternal.  Said Peter, “You are the Christ the Son of living God.” Jesus praised Peter and told him that answer was revealed to him by the Father. Then Jesus said, “on this rock I will build my church.”  Jesus’ church is built on the eternal truth that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God. 

Who Jesus is, is not contextually determined by any culture or community.  The creeds themselves confess eternal and transcendent truths about Christ NOT contextualized truths that were true for the cultures of the 4th and 5th centuries.  This is a SERIOUS and Dangerous false teaching on the part of Sweet and Viola.

In closing this for now, let’s return to that September 2009 post Frank Viola Promotes New Age Contemplative Spirituality at Truthspeaker’s Weblog. As they introduce this post the author offers the following personal testimony:

One of the most disappointing discoveries I made recently was that Frank Viola was a practictioner of contemplative prayer.  I had read several of his books a few years ago…. Pagan Christianity and Rethinking the Wineskin were great and impacted my life and changed my view of the church.  I was on Frank’s email list for several years as well, but recently as I was reading his blog I discovered a link between him and Leonard Sweet, a known contemplative from the Emergent Church movement.  This sent my red flags up and I started to steer away from Frank Viola. 

The following is taken from his newsletter from April 2007 where he shares his experiences with contemplative spirituality.  His new book, “From Eternity to Here” is all about the Bride and Bridegroom and sounds like something straight out of IHOP. (Online source)

If you didn’t know, IHOP is short for the International House of Prayer of “Kansas City prophet” Mike Bickle. [3] Now, not wanting to simply take the word of this one writer, I also found the “April 2006″ newletter from Viola republished here, and I’ve found that it had also appeared on Viola’s own website in the Slaughtering Sacred Cows Series:

(Online source)

In Slaughtering Sacred Cows: Part 3 “The Felt-Presence of God” we learn, among other things, that Viola considers what’s come to be known as “the Toronto Blessing” a “new move of God.” This becomes quite obvious when he tells us:

Upon hearing about the new move of God in March 1993, I traveled to Lakeland and sat in on those first meetings where “the blessing” had just begun. In January 1996, I traveled to Melbourne, Florida and sat in a meeting officiated by Randy Clark when the phenomenon had spread there in full force.

I will not share my observations of “the blessing” in this article. But I’m glad I went to those meetings. Ever since I’ve been a Christian, I’ve had an insatiable hunger to know my Lord more deeply. Consequently, if I hear a report that God is uniquely at work in a given place, I will move heaven and earth to visit it. This is what prompted me to check out those early meetings in Lakeland and Melbourne. (Online source) [4]

For our purposes here, I bring to your attention that Viola goes on to talk about one of his “closest friends” who’s “a man named Frank Valdez.” Viola continues:

I met Frank in 1992. He is the wisest Christian I’ve ever met. He is also the most knowledgeable and spiritually insightful. (I have often told people, “If you don’t want to know the answer to your question, don’t ask Frank Valdez!”) Further, unlike many gifted Christian men, Frank is completely honest, straight-forward, and has no trace of a manipulative or deceptive spirit. He is one of the most Christ-like men that I know.

In October 1994, as we were sharing lunch together, I told Frank about my observations on “the Toronto blessing.” This led into an invaluable discussion that marked a turning point in my life. Frank said to me, “There is a Christian tradition that practices a form of prayer that employs no words. It’s beyond speaking in tongues and deeper than the Toronto blessing.”  (Online source)

Here we have Valdez introducing Viola, in “October 1994,” to the oxymoron of this alleged “wordless prayer”; which is simply another way mystics refer to the transcendental meditation-lite they also call Contemplative/Centering Prayer. [5] And the so-called “Christian tradition” from which this form of Eastern-style meditation lightly sprayed in Christian terms would be the apostate Roman Catholic Church i.e. no longer Christian. We’ll now see from the below that Viola’s version of evangelical Christian spirituality actually jumped the track, to borrow a phrase from that great pop philosopher Don McLean, a long, long time ago:

Frank began to share with me about the contemplative prayer tradition. He spoke about centering prayer, lectio divina, and other ancient spiritual practices that were unfamiliar to me at the time. He also used a word that I wasn’t too keen on. I’ve since learned that this word has been historically used to honor people . . . and with equal rigor, it has been used to damn them. Frank introduced me to the Christian “mystics.”

Paranthetically, to offer some overly-simplistic definitions, contemplative prayer is a prayer of interior silence that is beyond words. Centering prayer is a silent gazing upon the Lord that employs the use of a “sacred word” like “Lord” or “Jesus” to center one’s attention upon Him [mantra meditation] when the mind begins to wander. Lectio Divina is a form of spiritual communion where the Scriptures are turned into prayer. (Online source)

As a former Roman Catholic whom, by His grace alone, through faith alone in Christ’s finished work on the Cross alone, God delivered from the spiritual bondage of Roman Catholicism into the glorious liberty of the sons of God I can tell you that this “contemplative prayer tradtion” flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of the Church of Rome. In Keeping You Apprised Of: Contemplative/Centering Prayer I showed you it actually started with heretical hermits, who disobeyed the mandate of Jesus for His Church to go make disciples of all nations and instead went out into seclusion of the desert of Egypt.

Romanticized today as “the desert fathers and mothers” they borrowed practices from Eastern pagan religions and then adopted them as so-called “spiritual disciplines”; the crowning jewel of which is this “wordless prayer” in “the silence” where one attempts, as pastor Bob DeWaay pointed out earlier, to “journey inward” in search of some supposed “true self.” Frankly, it was really a fulfillment of the old adage “too much time on my hands.” After all if you’re going to sit in a cave all day and night, and you’re not going to work with your hands and go preach the Gospel, you end up with many hours a day to fill.

In the more in-depth article Origin Of Contemplative/Centering Prayer you’ll see that Contemplative, and Centering, Prayer are virtually synonymous for this extremely dangerous spiritual practice of meditation in an altered state of consciousness. And Viola himself tells us below that he has indeed become a sinfully ecumenical mystic; and now we also know why he would find such a kindred spirit in Leonard Sweet, as they’re just two peas in a corrupt spiritual pod:

Frank gave me a brief history of the Christian “mystics,” as they came to be known. These were Christians who sought experiential union with their God. They had a fervent love for the Lord that had landed them into hot water. That love caused them to think and experiment “outside the box” of traditional religion. In their desperation to know the Lord intimately, some of them discovered ways of communing with God that went beyond petition-prayer, Bible-reading, and speaking in tongues.

In short, I was intrigued by what Frank shared with me that day. I then launched into a quest to read the writings that were part of this tradition. More importantly, I began to implement some of their discoveries into my own devotional life. As the years passed, I met others who were on this same journey. They too had gleaned from the same writings that had helped me so much. 

I later discovered that there were some in this same tradition who are my contemporaries. Most of them, however, are outside the evangelical tradition. Rather, they are part of high church denominations like Catholic, Episcopal, and Anglican. Their writings have uncovered practical forms of spiritual communion that I’ve found to be of great profit personally. (Online source)

Indeed, they are outside; but I find myself wondering, does the Protestant Reformation still even ring an evangelical bell?


1. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (New York: Harper & Row, 1978) 1. All subsequent citations from this book will be bracketed within the text in this fashion: (Foster: 1).
2. http://tinyurl.com/2fu2k8n, accessed 6/6/10.
3. Bickle is also a proponent of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism: http://tinyurl.com/6j8ftl, accessed 6/6/10.
4. Since this Toronto “Blessing”  is not the focal point of this piece I’ll refer you to brother Sandy Simpson’s fine Deception In The Church website for whole host of articles.
5. Dr. Gary Gilley has done a good job refuting this biblically in Mysticism—Part 3.

See also: