(402) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Christian & Missionary Alliance ‘Rohring’ Down the Mystical Path
C&MA’s ‘Rohring’ Deeper Into MYSTICISM.
Let me first say, there is much to commend in the C&MA. In many ways, it has set a high standard in areas such as cross-cultural missionary work around the world. It is looked at by other Christian groups and denominations as having much to emulate in their missionary endevours. Along with that, they carry with them a broader focus with their emphasis on JESUS in everything they do. They tend to lean on the conservative side of many theologically issues and have high view of Scripture as God’s word. Personally, I appreciate their balanced approach to viewing issues such as the gifts of the Spirit – taking, in my view, a biblical approach to issues like this. All of this is funneled into a church actually living out our Christian walk both in the local community and around the world.
That said, there is no perfect church. Sadly, along with the C&MA, there are many within the broader Evangelical Church which are stearing their ships in a direction that moves further from Scripture and closer to ancient church tradition. With this, we are seeing the inclusion of other religious practices being mixed in with Christian practices with Christian sounding titles and names. Fresh off the SEEKER-SENSITIVE MOVMENT from the 1990s, today we are seeing the effects of contemparary movements such as the EMERGING CHURCH which are bringing in concepts and ideas that move Christians away from the Bible and instead point Christians in a direction that looks more to tradition and mystical practices. I bring these issues up because it burdons me to see the path that some/many within the C&MA are heading which has to result in changing the church in the long run if nothing else changes their course. How could it not? Mysticism focuses more on the “DEEP“, “INTERNAL”, “TRANSFORMATION” of the INSIDE as they strive to be UNIFIED with God. According to this line of thinking, it opens up to joining with other people in the world today who look internally to be unified with God, unified with each other, unified with nature, unified with other creatures….etc. Why should we “do Missions” when we can strive for this internal unity right where we are?
In previous postings, we looked briefly at how C&MA seminaries and colleges are being influenced heavily in areas of ancient Roman Catholic and Eastern mysticism. At Nyack and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS), we see the training of the next generation of pastors and leaders across a wide spectrum of exposure. For example, some professors spend time at ROMAN CATHOLIC MONASTERIES practicing their SPIRITUAL DICIPLINES of SILENCE and STILLNESS over periods of days and weeks. During these times, they converse with monks who teach them the so-called rich history of ……the Bible – No! Rather they instruct them on the ways of ancient monastic practices of the DESERT FATHERS & MOTHERS. They acknowledge that the similarieties to modern Eastern Mysticism found in many Eastern Religions today. The attitude is that we can learn from others who supposedly engage in similar religious practices in which Evangelical Christians could learn a great deal from……etc. Some scholars believe that the early DESERT FATHERS were also influenced by EASTERN MYSTICISM during their time in ancient Egypt.
We also see course work at C&MA seminaries and colleges based on Roman Catholic and now Evangelical promoters of mysticism through Christian sounding jargon such as SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES and SPIRITUAL FORMATION. The trend is to study ancient church history to see firsthand how these practices were developed in the EARLY CHURCH. Simpley stated the reasoning goes something like this – If its from the EARLY CHURCH, it must right? Right?
Contemporary authors/teachers are studyied such as RICHARD ROHR, RICHARD FOSTER, DALLAS WILLARD, RUTH HALEY BARTON…..etc. applying the modern versions of these same mystical practices found in ancient Roman Catholicism and Eastern Mysticism.
So, let’s continue on with one of these teachers – RICHARD ROHR. His material is being used in classes at Nyack / ATS. There are professors who are actively contributing to journals from Richard Rohr’s organization – the previous post, we looked at this in more detail. Today, let’s look further on other areas dealing with what Rohr believes and how he is influencing Evangelicals today. Again, Richard Rohr is a Roman Catholic priest, and a leading proponent of CONTEMPLATIVE MYSTICISM today. We could spend a great deal of time on differentiating ROMAN CATHOLICISM and EVANGELICISM but let’s start out taking small steps.
Take a look at this brief video and see how may issues are brought up that Rohr glosses over but really conflict with how many views held by Evangelical and most importantly, the Bible. Some of these include UNIVERSALISM, PURGATORY, ORTHODOXY,..etc. It is no accident that with this topic, another name is brought up – ROB “ALL IS SWELL WITH NO HELL” BELL. Rob Bell has done a number of things with Richard Rohr and according to this clip, Rob Bell will be teaching (if not already) at Richard Rohr’s new school. What amazes me is how these supposed Evangelicals seemingly take in everything Rohr is saying. But this effect is becoming more and more common in today’s environment.