*UPDATED* JOHN PIPER AND LINGER CONFERENCE WITH IHOP’S STEPHEN VENABLE AND HIS CONTEMPLATIVE TEACHING

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UPDATE: STEPHEN VENABLE OUT OF LINGER CONFERENCE

UPDATE: THE MASTER’S COLLEGE WITHDRAWS AS EXHIBITOR AT UPCOMING LINGER CONFERENCE

Yesterday Apprising Ministries told you about John Piper And Stephen Venable Of IHOP Together At Linger Conference. The upcoming Linger Conference (LC), scheduled for February 14-15, 2014. features NC mentor John Piper, a well-known charismatic, and current Acts 29 president and “reformed charismatic” Matt Chandler.

Also at LC will be Stephen Venable, who is “a missionary at” IHOP currently serving ”as an instructor” at IHOP University. In addition, he’s “part of the senior leadership team of the Antioch Center for Training,” which is an extension of IHOP. The truth is, Stephen Venable is as dedicated to IHOP as it gets.

In my earlier article I  explained that the International House Of Prayer is the brainchild of New Apostolic Reformation “apostle/prophet” Mike Bickle.1 I also showed you that Venable looks like he’s going to be teaching on the very namesake of the LC:

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(source)

As you can see, Venable has a Special Session on “Lingering” and the LC will be featuring a “Linger Room,” which actually opens at 8am when the conference begins on Friday.2 So, it seems to me that this lingering as taught by Stephen Venable is going to be quite important to this LC gathering as a whole.

Let me also bring to your attention that any doubt the Linger Room is a room for “worship” is dispelled in the following from a spokesperson for the Linger Conference itself:

The Linger Room is a “Get away” space.  Before and after conference hours and during meal times, there will be worship leaders in that space leading the room in worship.  At other times there will be worship music played on CD.  We have licensed Biblical counselors there throughout the conference and space set up for prayer.  We will adhere in that space and elsewhere to our theological statement, found here: http://www.lingerconference.com/about/theological/

If you have additional questions, please let me know.   We hope you can join us in February.

In Him,

[name withheld]

Below we see further indication I am correct in that this lingering is likely a type of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP), which is a part of the teaching at IHOP. However, CCP is actually a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness, i.e. transcendental meditation lightly sprayed with Christian terms.

Yet the LC Vision Statement sounds much like IHOP itself as anyone who’s been involved with it can tell you. Lots of contemplative jargon like ” ‘Lingering’ in the presence,” “transformed in the presence,” and “hunger for the presence,” reminiscent of apostate mystics like “Brother” Lawrence and Madame Guyon:

The vision and purpose of the Linger Conference is to impart the fundamental importance of remaining or “Lingering” in the presence of the King. Our attention span as a culture, even for spiritual matters, is measured in seconds and minutes rather than hours and days.

This conference offers the opportunity to be transformed in the presence of God by lingering in worship, prayer, meditation on scripture, and reflection. We hope to draw the attendance of lay people in addition to church staff and provide a conference environment where believers can linger in the presence of the Lord.

We pray that this conference will spark a hunger for the presence of God and a lifelong pursuit of beholding His Glory. (source)

Previously in Origin Of Contemplative/Centering Prayer, I showed you that CCP was never taught by Jesus Himself; nor will you find it in the teachings of His Apostles contained in Scripture. Despite Venable’s claims to the contrary, the fact is, CCP was never part of the historic orthodox Christian faith.

History shows us that Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) arose through monks and monkettes known as the Desert Fathers and Mothers. And further, we find out that this type of mystic meditation of CCP was unknown in the Christian community prior to these apostates leaving it to move into the desert circa 3rd century.

CCP is the crown jewel of CSM, which found its way into evangelicalism through its foolish embrace of the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church, whose 2 key mentors were Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster and his spiritual twin and Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard.

Around the year 2000, under the guise of so-called Spiritual Formation, practices of CSM began to find their way into the mainstream. Now we’re beginning to see this happening within young, restless and reformed circles.3 Sadly, Dr. Gary Gilley is dead-on-target as he warns us that:

Spiritual formation seeks to lure evangelicals into ancient Catholic and Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn.

Central doctrines such as sola fide and sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized. And complete heretics such as Thomas Merton are seen as reliable spiritual guides to spirituality.

The contemplatives have sold out to Catholic mysticism and abandoned the clear teaching of Scripture. Sadly, in the process many undiscerning evangelicals will follow suit. (source)

Let me begin to close this for now; as it concerns the video clip to follow, John Lanagan now informs us:

In this short video describing the IHOP class he teaches, “A life of communion with God,” Venable calls contemplative prayer “a lost grace, a lost art in the modern church…”

Because of the loss of contemplative prayer, Venable says our spirituality can be “shallow” and “wanting.”

He then goes on to praise the mystics “who were really just men and women who were set on fire with love for Jesus…”

Make no mistake: Those who go to IHOP are going to be exposed to contemplative prayer, one way or another. (source)

You may wish to know that The Master’s College (TMC), of which Dr. John MacArthur is president.4 is found among the Exhibitors on the Sponsors page of LC:

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(source)

Hopefully, in light of this information TMC will reconsider and drop any involvement on their part with the Linger Conference. And now I will echo Lanagan’s closing question: Shouldn’t we be warning our children, and our churches, rather than holding conferences with IHOP leaders?

Further reading

Endnotes

  1.  http://bit.ly/JJSncx, accessed 1/17/14.
  2. http://www.lingerconference.com/schedule/, accessed 1/17/14.
  3. See e.g. MARK DRISCOLL AND NEO-REFORMED NEW CALVINIST CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY
  4. http://www.masters.edu/abouttmc/president.aspx, accessed 1/17/14.