(435) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Nyack, Alliance Theological Seminary, and the C&MA Called to Accountability!

Nyack Promoting New Age & Roman Catholicism?

It continues to pain me as I come across ANOTHER article that reveals information about the theological direction of the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination through their cherished institutions at Nyack and Alliance Theological Seminary.  Calling these practices and teachings into question is reasonable and long overdue. I am not trying to single out individuals to question their sincerity or question their intention.  They may be doing great things for God in other areas of their walk. But,  I do think the Bible calls us to compare what is being taught to what the word of God says.   The following article reveals that others are thinking the same way and have already put forward the questions.  This brings to mind a couple verses – 

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 uBe diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:14-15; NKJV)

Paul warned us to continue in the things that you have learned from the beginning – a learning that originates in knowing God’s word – not ancient Roman Catholicism,  Buddhism…etc.

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 uAll Scripture is given by inspiration of God, vand is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 3instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:14–17; NKJV)

The author of this article is anonymous but she draws attention to some of the important issues –

Nyack’s  Dr. Danaher Does it Again with Another Rohr Endorsement!

Front and center on the “Nyack’s College of Arts & Sciences January 2014 Facebook Page & Blog” is Dr. James P. Danaher’s newest book: The Second Truth complete with Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico endorsement.

Note also that Danaher’s new book is also endorsed by one Maggie Ross.  Ross, a mystic Anglican solitary, is the author of several books including Writing the Icon of the Heart, which in turn, was endorsed (no surprise) by James P. Danaher, author of Contemplative Prayer: A Theology for the Twenty-first CenturyFr. Richard Rohr, Founding Director, Center for Action and Contemplation; and John H. Armstrong, President, ACT3 Network.  (See previous blog: “The Naked Now at Nyack.”)1512

For more Rohr scroll down the Nyack Arts & Sciences Facebook Page to find a prominent photograph of the Oneing: An Alternative Orthodoxy (The Perennial Tradition)  explored by 21st. century thinkers including:   Richard Rohr, Mark S. Burrows, Ilia Delio, David G. Benner, John L. Esposito, Diana Butler Bass, Mary Beth Ingham, James P. Danaher, Robert Sardello, Jamie L. Manson, James D. Kirylo, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley.

Exactly who are these other authors?  What do they share in common?  What do they each contribute to Oneing?  Why would Richard Rohr select them as contributors?  For some answers go to Amazon.com books to Oneing  and click on “Look Inside.”  Notice the “Contents” which lists articles written from Rohr’s “Introduction,” to Benner’s “Ancient Wisdom for Contemplative Living,” to Danaher’s “What’s So Perennial About the Perennial Philosophy?” to Finley’s “Epilogue.”  See the listing of each contributor with personal web sites.

While researching these authors, whom I’d dub: “Rohr’s Radicals,” I’ve found most of this group to be the cream of the crop of vocal liberals who’ve embraced Rohr’s “we are all one” mantra.  And just who are the “who’s who” of Rohr’s ardent admirers?  To begin there’s Mark S. Burrows, mystic poet and scholar, who translated Rilke poetry from German to English.  There’s Sr. Ilia Delio OSF, an outspoken theologian scientist and author, who reimagines Christ by teaching evolutionary Catholicism or cosmic Christology.  There’s David G. Benner, an ex-evangelical depth psychologist and soul care author, who left his former faith for mystical practices (contemplative prayer, lectio divina, icons) and interfaith dialog (Buddhists, Taoists). There’s John L. Esposito, once a monk, who now is an expert on world religions and a spokesperson for Muslim & Christian understanding.  There’s Diana Butler Bass, Episcopalian feminist, who is a contributing editor for Jim Wallis’ Sojourner Magazine, and a friend of such Emergents as Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, and Tony Jones.  There’s Sr. Mary Beth Ingham CSJ, philosophy professor and author of a book with Richard Rohr, as well as numerous books on Franciscan theologian John Duns Scotus. 

There’s James P. Danaher, Nyack College Philosophy Chair, postmodern and contemplative author of four Rohr-endorsed  books, and advisor to and writer for Rohr’s Oneing journal.  There’s Robert Sardello, a leading philosopher of the soul revered by authors James Hillman and Thomas Moore, who as co-founder of the School of Spiritual Psychology has authored such books as Steps on the Stone Path:  Working with Crystals and Minerals as a Spiritual Practice and Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness.  There’s Jamie L. Manson, a Catholic feminist and defender of the homosexual agenda, and columnist for The National Catholic Reporter.  There’s James D. Kirylo, professor of education and defender of “Liberation Theology,” who authored the book Paulo Freire: The Man from Recife.  Finally, there’s James Finley, once a monk mentored by Thomas Merton, now turned clinical psychologist who teaches such retreats as: “The Four Noble Truths of the Buddha for Us All,”  “The Interior Castle of St. Theresa of Avila, ” and  “Zen as a Path of Spiritual Fulfillment.”

On the opening page you can also find the meaning of the old English word “oneing” as used by mystic Lady Julian of Norwich.  It is defined this way: “Oneing  describes the encounter between God and the soul.  The Rohr Institute proudly borrows the word to express divine unity between all divisions, dichotomies, and dualisms in the world.  We pray and publish with Jesus’ words, ‘that we may be one.'”  Ponder this statement!!  

For “oneing’s” meaning unlocks the reason for Rohr’s purpose in promoting these mostly Roman Catholic, mystical, often radical writers.  Yes, “oneing’s” meaning is what Rohr and his cohorts are all about!

Think!  Dr. James P. Danaher, Philosophy Chair at “evangelical” Nyack is part of this group of writers promoting we are all one, and we are all divine.  And then notice the members that comprise “The Rohr Institute Advisory Board:”  James Danaher; David Benner; Ilia Delia, OSF; Sheryl B. Fullerton; and Marian Kustenmacher.  This “five some” includes: Danaher, the contemplative philosopher; Benner the mystical depth psychologist; Delio the evolutionist nun; Fullerton the mind, body, and soul literary agent; and Kustenmacher the occult enneagram specialist.  Once again the question must be raised: How can an evangelical philosophy professor be associated with such a board?

At the CAC web site we additionally find the “Living School for Action & Contemplation” whose all-star teachers each bear witness to the Christian voice of universal awakening, grounded firmly within its mystical and transformational tradition.  Hoping to open Christianity to more inclusive theological visions a core faculty (Rohr, Bourgeault, & Finley) and invited master teachers (Rob Bell, David G. Benner, Walter Brueggemann, Paula D’Arcy, Ilia Delio, Ruth Patterson, and Robert Sardello) will teach deep and grounded practices in contemplative prayer, chanting, and kenosis.  CAC writes:  “In the joined presence of these faculty, this School is at its heart a Mystical Christian Living School.

One can find Oneing  and many more Rohr products featured on the New Age “Contemplative-Life” page with a “Mandala” icon at the top left corner of its web page.  Read Rohr’s clear and concise definition of Oneing’s “Perennial Tradition Theme”, which is in all the world’s religions, is all about:

  • There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things.
  • There is in the human soul a natural capacity, similarity, and longing for this Divine    Reality.
  • The final goal of all existence is UNION with this Divine Reality.

In conclusion, with the above description firmly in your mind, I would ask

  1. Why Dr. James P. Danaher can continue to teach at Nyack College, and at the same time be part of this heretical organization?  
  2. I would ask why Dr. Danaher’s newest book gets top billing on Nyack’s “Arts & Sciences” page and blog? 
  3. I would ask why such a completely unbiblical and radical journal would be pictured as news-worthy?  
  4. I would ask exactly who it is that is responsible for allowing Danaher to be part of Rohr’s organization? 

=> Surely, not just Danaher will be held accountable; for those over Dr. Danaher will also give account for their encouragement, their endorsements, and their allowing him to continue to spread Rohr’s teachings to CMA students as well as the CMA denomination and beyond.

SO WHAT?100_56791

=> It can be understandable to some that the concepts being discussed sound innocent enough, but woven through the words such as CONTEMPLATIVE, SPIRITUAL FORMATION, CENTERING PRAYER, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES,….etc.  These words represent concepts similar to (or directly taken from) New Age (Eastern Mysticism) and ancient Roman Catholic mysticism.  If that is the case, there is serious error being introduced to the C&MA denomination.  
=> The last point above brings up a very important thought – what is the effect of this type of teaching on CMA students, the CMA denomination and future pastors and leaders in the church?  What effect will this have 10-15 years down the road?  With the increasing exposure by other Christians both from within and without of the denomination, how will all of these influences affect the church in the future? 
I pray that the church heeds the advice of Paul in his pastoral epistles to be diligent and teach the Word. Teach those items learned initially from the World so that you can become complete in Christ and used for his will and glory.

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