Back in September of 2008 Apprising Ministries ran a piece called Ravi Zacharias Answers “Can A Person Live A Sincere Christian Life As A Homosexual?” There I placed a You Tube clip where the well-respected evangelical apologist Ravi Zacharias states emphatically:
One of the greatest saints of recent memory was Henri Nouwen.
For some reason, within hours of that article appearing online, the clip was then pulled by the user:
Today I happened to locate it again. Now you can watch it for yourself right here at Apprising Ministries:
Leaving aside Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) being professor of secular psychology at godless Harvard University, he was also a universalist. Here’s what Nouwen himself wrote not long before he died:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.1
The question we need to ask here is: Are those Gospel-denying words those of a great Christian saint? No, they’re not. And this wasn’t an isolated idea for Nouwen. Consider the following:
One of the discoveries we make in [meditative] prayer is that the closer we come to God, the closer we come to all our brothers and sisters in the human family. God is not a private God. The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being.2
If you didn’t know, Henri Nouwen was a Roman Catholic mystic who remains to this day a veritable superstar teacher of neo-Gnostic Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM); particularly its crown jewel, which is meditation in an altered form of consciousness known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).
For example in his book In The Name Of Jesus, when we come to the chapter “The Discipline: Contemplative Prayer,” Nouwen muses:
To live a life that is not dominated by the desire to be relevant but is instead safely anchored in the knowledge of God’s first love, we have to be mystics. A mystic is a person whose identity is deeply rooted in God’s first love.3
In the previous chapter Nouwen tells us this “first love” of God is “unconditional and unlimited love” because “God is love and only love.”4 Like all mystics he distorts the nature of God until he/she/it becomes a mush god. What they’re actually experiencing is a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:2 — people will be lovers of self.
Nouwen then continues:
If there is any focus that the Christian leader of the future will need, it is the discipline of dwelling in the presence of [God]… This is the discipline of contemplative prayer… Contemplative prayer keeps us home, rooted, and safe,… Contemplative prayer deepens in us the knowledge that we…already belong to God,…5
CSM formed the corrupt core of the spirituality of Henri Nouwen who died a slave to apostate Roman Catholicism; and like all mystics eventually arrive, his ride into CCP would land him in the soteriology of universalism. The fact is, there’s no evidence Nouwen was a Christian, and therefore, he couldn’t have been a great saint.
Following is the full version of the video in question:
- CHUCK SWINDOLL POINTS US TO ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC HENRI NOUWEN…AGAIN
- RICK WARREN WANTS US TO LEARN FROM ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC HENRI NOUWEN
- SETTING KAY WARREN STRAIGHT ABOUT ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC HENRI NOUWEN
- Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey [New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1998], 51, emphasis mine. ↩
- Henri Nouwen, Here and Now: Living In The Spirit [New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2006], 25, emphasis mine. ↩
- Henri Nouwen, In The Name Of Jesus: Reflections On Christian Leadership [New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1989], 42. ↩
- Ibid., 38, emphasis mine. ↩
- Ibid., 42, 43. ↩