Two brief examples of how prevalent the use of mystical contemplative teaching (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Mysticism including Buddhism, Hinduism, similar to New Age philosophy) is in Evangelical churches today (e.g. we will look briefly at the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination) – even down to the local district level =>

At the recent C&MA Western PA District prayer conference in September in Mars PA, a talk entitled “Restoring Garden Intimacy” contained references to RICHARD ROHR and the ENNEAGRAM  (to be upfront – I did not attend this conference).  I’m not intending to judge the conference topics or speakers.  But specifically, looking at these two items.  This all plays into the trend today of promoting syncretic teaching and practices within Evangelical Christianity with Eastern philosophies and early Roman Catholic mysticism.  So, who is Richard Rohr and what is the Enneagram? (will be explored in Part 4) 

Looking at the first item – RICHARD ROHR, we reviewed Rohr in Part 2 of this posting.  Briefly stated, Father Richard Rohr is a Roman Catholic Franciscan priest. He is the founding director of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He includes contemplative mysticism in much of what he teaches. This includes promoting the use of the enneagram, eco-spirituality, social and justice issues, contemplation, produces a newsletter called Radical Grace….etc.  He is a regular contributing editor/writer for Sojourners magazine.

His beliefs cover a wide range of interests and sometimes may not even line up with the Roman Catholic church.  He has also teamed up with contemporary Emerging Church teachers – most notable of which is ROB BELL and RICHARD FOSTER.  With these associations, he promotes “Spiritual Disciplines under the description of ‘spiritual formation’. 

Some brief additional background information – In January of 2008 Rohr was a “presenter” at Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening—sponsored by his own CAC—where in true contemplative mystic theology completely consistent with The NEW SPIRITUALITY – Rohr taught the equality of BUDDHA with CHRIST and the indwelling of God in all things:

  • The Four Noble Truths are the distilled essence of the BUDDHIST teaching. In this retreat, each of the Four Noble Truths will be introduced and explored, with emphasis given to the presence of each Noble Truth at the heart of Jesus’ call to awaken to God’s presence in every detail of our daily lives…
  • The teachings of both Jesus and BUDDHA call us to transformational honesty. They are both teaching us how to see, and how to see all the way through! They both knew that if you see God for yourself, you will see the Divine in all things. (Online source)

One of his center’s (CAC) core principles states: “We need a contemplative mind in order to do a compassionate work.” In other words the “and” in his center’s name is key — supporting the idea that if you are being formed into the image of Christ through contemplative practices, you will begin to live it out in the world.

Richard Rohr goes further and states 
  • “God’s hope for humanity is that one day we will all recognize that the divine dwelling place is all of creation. Christ comes again whenever we see that matter and spirit co-exist. This truly deserves to be called good news.
  • “[O]ne of my publishers . . . told me that right now my single biggest demographic is young evangelicals—young evangelicals. Some of my books are rather heavy. I’m just amazed.”
From Richard Rohr’s website, one can plainly see his reliance on both Roman Catholic mysticism and Eastern Mysticism (similar to New Age) with similarities to Buddhism and Hinduism.  In one of Rohr’s most recent newsletter, the following chart illustrates how his theology and thinking process has developed over the years.  Notice the reference to Eastern philosophies and early church mystics. He describes his theology in these terms, not me. TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THIS =>

This chart illustrates the type of theology, beliefs, and practices that Christians are being exposed to by including Richard Rohr in your church’s teachings. The sad thing is that leaders in the church are, in many cases not even aware of these issues happening under their watch.  Starting In 1 Timothy 1, Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “teach no other doctrine ” and to “teach the word” rings true as Christians today continue to be desensitized to the importance of basing their understanding on God’s word instead of outside philosophies and other religions.  With ROHR, there are several key doctrines that are he deviates from historic Christianity including – Christ’s incarnation, the need for the crucifixion, his belief in PANTHEISM,…..etc.  We will look further at some of these issues in future postings.

=> Even some Roman Catholics don’t endorse Rohr and his teachings.  The irony of the C&MA promoting Richard Rohr but even some Roman Catholics speaking out against his theology is quite amazing.  You can see a description of this from this Roman Catholic site – 

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