“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3)

The Lord Will Always See Through Anyone’s Attempt At “File Cabinet Orthodoxy”

I’ve pointed out before that the Lord chose to raise up Apprising Ministries as an online apologetics and discernment work; as such, it’s a large part on my mission here to cover trends developing within the church visible. Unfortunately we live in a time where, in my opinion, a tsunami of apostasy—likely driven by 1 Peter 4:17 judgments—is rapidly heading toward the mainstream of, largely pretending to be Protestant, evangelicalism.

Sadly, we’re watching the Reformation being undone as more and more people embrace corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM); particularly within the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church. As a result, one of the trends developing as the above happens is a neo-Reformed new Calvinism, which I touched upon e.g. in Mark Driscoll And Neo-Reformed New Calvinist Contemplative Spirituality.

As I said in previous AM posts such as Acts 29 Network And Reformed Counter Reformation Spirituality? and Acts 29 Pastor Matt Chandler On Being A Reformed Charismatic, in my estimation, there’s very good reason for concern as these people are rapidly growing in popularity, and in influence within the younger sector of the Reformed Camp; blessed as they are by Dr. John Piper, who’s seen by some as a “pioneer” of this New Calvinism.[1]

So now you have the backdrop as to why I believe it’s become necessary to begin looking more closely at what appears to be a form of postmodern Calvinism in that camp; one which professes Reformation theology while, at the same time, also embracing corrupt Counter Reformation spirituality. It just so happens that today I was again sent a link to a book review by Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel, where he looks at Dr. Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God.

In his review Dr. Gilley brings out his own concerns with some of the more curious teaching of Dr. John Piper:

• Finally, Piper quotes favorably from a very disturbing stable of authors: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (popular liberal theologian, who, by the way, was executed not for his faith in Christ, but for his part in an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler) (p. 90), Dallas Willard (leader in the unbiblical spiritual formation movement) (p. 119), G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic author) (p. 196), and Richard Foster (father and main promoter of the infiltration of Roman Catholic mysticism into evangelical circles) (pp. 192-193). He also speaks twice of the “dark night of the soul” which comes from counter-reformation Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross (pp. 217, 229).

Most disturbing is Foster’s quote calling for “new prophets to arise in our day” to which Piper responds, “And when they arise, one way that we fight for joy in God is to read what they write” (p. 193). After authoring a book which majors on pointing us to the Bible in our fight for joy, it is disconcerting to now read of an encouragement to read the words of modern prophets; and coming from Foster’s perspective and Piper’s theology on prophets, they are both referring to extrabiblical revelation through present-day prophets). (Online source)

Most disturbing is right; you know e.g. from my articles such as Steve Gladen, Saddleback Church Small Groups, And Quaker Mystic Spirituality and Saddleback Church, Rick Warren, And Spiritual Disciplines that the Emerging Church would end up being a Trojan Horse; one which squishy evanjellyfish leaders would bring right into their own camp, even though it’s the vehicle from which this spurious CSM—a romanticized version of the Counter Reformation (hello!) spirituality of the apostate Roman Catholic Church—would be unloaded. You should know that the EC has been pawning off this spurious CSM for years as so-called Spiritual Formation.

I’ve also explained to you it happens to be an incontrovertible fact that the main purveyors of CSM would be the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, along with Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard; whom many people don’t seem to realize is quite literally Foster’s spiritual twin and teaches, and practices, the exact same things. You may recall that I’ve also told you, in no uncertain terms, it’s well past time for evangelical leaders to begin recognizing the inclusive, and increasingly universal, fruit of this disgusting spiritual skubalon of a vertible cult of Foster-Willardism.

Yet as we look in the library of Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) where John Piper is pastor we find Richard Foster, Prayer Finding the Heart’s True Home:

(Online source)

Here, from my personal copy, is a little sample of what we learn about “prayer” from guru Foster:

Contemplative Prayer immerses us into the silence of God. How desperately we in the modern world need this wordless baptism… Contemplative Prayer is the one discipline that can free us from our addiction to words. Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence… It is recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer…

A Warning And A Precaution

At the outset I need to give a word of warning,… Contemplative Prayer is not for the novice. I do not say this about any other form of prayer… Contemplative prayer is for those who have exercised their spiritual muscles a bit and know something about the landscape of the spirit. In fact, those who work in the area of spiritual direction always look for signs of a maturing faith before encouraging individuals into Contemplative Prayer…

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection.[2]

As I pointed out elsewhere, this couldn’t be clearer that what we’re actually dealing with here is a new form of Gnosticism. Can you see; above we have the “initiated” and “enlightened” ones who are the superior Christians, as they “work in the area of spiritual direction” (when was this ever part of Protestant practice), and then they are looking for those disciples “who have excercised their spiritual muscles” enough for initiation because this CCP—even though necessary for “intimacy with God—still “is not for” every Christian. This is but a rapid return to Romanist religious bondage; and an asceticism-lite form of Pietism.

Lines Blur Further Into A Postmodern Neo-Reformed Counter Reformation Spirituality

It seems peculiar to me that Dr. Piper would wish his flock to be exposed to Foster’s foolishness. Then there’s Foster’s clone Dallas Willard and his own ode to asceticism Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives:

(Online source)

In his The Dangers of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Disciplines, a thorough, and Biblical, dismantling of Willard’s twisting of God’s Word in the book above, Christian apologist Bob DeWaay carefully shows us that on one hand Dallas Willard admits these so-called spiritual disciplines are not taught in the Bible, but then on the other, he does try to teach Foster-Willardism’s quasi-Quaker and Roman Catholic mysticism is actually found in Matthew 11:29-30; where Jesus says to us — “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Obviously, on the face of this text we don’t see any semi-ascetic so-called spiritual disciplines; Willard instead imports them into this passage of the Bible.

While refuting Dallas Willard’s spiritual disciplines mythology (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4) DeWaay brings out that completely consistent:

with most unbiblical approaches, the spiritual disciplines are based on the idea of innate human powers that can be harnessed for good. Holding a false concept of sin as a “disruption of that higher [spiritual] life,” Willard looks for a solution through finding our true potential, individually and corporately, through spiritual disciplines that will enable us to reconstruct the rule of God now…

Starting with a serious misinterpretation of Matthew 11:29, 30, Dallas Willard built his entire system on the idea that Jesus’ “yoke” consists of various spiritual disciplines. The issue in Matthew 11 was Messianic salvation—finding true Sabbath rest in Christ rather than following meticulous religious rules decreed by the Scribes and Pharisees. The idea of practicing spiritual disciplines was imported to the text, not found there.

We live in an age of mysticism. People lust for spiritual reality and spiritual experiences. The danger is that unbiblical practices will give people a real spiritual experience, but not from God. (Online source)

But despite this, apparently Dallas Willard is still someone Piper’s BBC believes it needs to learn from as in its Shepherd Group Directory Winter/Spring 2011 – Downtown Campus Shepherd Groups we find:

(Online source)

So now my question comes emerging: Why would Dr. John Piper, a Calvinist, want his followers exposed to this kind of man-centered, and blatantly false, mystical mumbo jumbo of Foster-Willardism? I wonder, could we actually be witnessing the rise of some kind of a Reformergence? In closing this, for now, you’re probably aware that John Piper has for some reason recently taken it upon himself to begin promoting the pragmatic semi-pelagian (at best) Church Growth Movement ministry of “Protestant” Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren. Here’s what Rick Warren says of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard.

In his modern Church Growth classic The Purpose Driven Church Warren says that from “time to time God has raised up a parachurch movement to reemphasize a neglected purpose of the church.” Notice carefully here now that Warren has just said “God has raised up” these movements up for “a neglected purpose of the church.” This is very important as we then analyze what is to follow from Warren.

Peter Druckerite CGM guru Warren then pronounces his blessing upon these movements as being “valid, and even helpful” in that these organizations can “focus on a single purpose.” We wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with the basic premise itself but Warren informs us that among these parachurch movements he’s discussing is what he calls The Discipleship/Spiritual Formation Movement. Warren tells us that:

A reemphasis on developing believers to full maturity has been the focus of this movement. Organizations such as the Navigators, Worldwide Discipleship, and Campus Crusade for Christ, and authors such as Waylon Moore, Gary Kuhne, Gene Getz, Richard Foster, and Dallas Willard have underscored the importance of building up Christians and establishing personal spiritual disciplines.[3]

Then, as we go onto the Spiritual Disciplines section of The Spiritual Growth Center at Saddleback Church where Rick Warren is pastor, we also find the same two books by Foster and Willard there, the same as we do in the library of the BBC of John Piper. Notice also that these books are actually sold at Saddleback in “the Pavillion” as well:

(Online source)

Both John Piper and Rick Warren are promoting the book Celebration of Discipline by Quaker mystic Richard Foster, who by following the approach to spirituality he teaches within, is nearly a universalist who is definitely sinfully ecumenical repudiating the Lord’s Protestant Reformers. Here’s what the aformentioned Dr. Gary Gilley has correctly stated concerning Foster’s magnum opus in his excellent series called Mysticism:

Celebration of Discipline alone, not even referencing Foster’s other writings and teachings and ministries, is a virtual encyclopedia of theological error.  We would be hard pressed to find in one so-called evangelical volume such a composite of false teaching.

A “virtual encyclopedia of theological error” within this “so-called evangelical volume” in which one “would be hard pressed” to find in a single source “such a composite of false teaching.” Yeah, I guess other than that it’s a pretty helpful book for the Christian, eh. I think not; but you need to realize in the case of John Piper and Rick Warren, to point all of this out, is not guilt by association. No rather, it is clearly guilt by endorsement.


[1], accessed 5/30/11.

[2] Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home [New York: Harper Collins, 1997], 155, 156, 157.

[3] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995], 126, emphasis mine.

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