Mennonites and St. Ignatius

As if the MB Herald hasn’t revealed enough about how far the influence of contemplative spirituality has spread into Mennonite churches, here is another concern.

Urban Journey (www.urbanjourney.ca) is an MB church plant in Vancouver, B.C. that is doing a good work for the city with something called Urban Advocacy. This involves caring for those in need in very practical ways, because as Mennonite Brethren, they believe that “alleviating suffering, reducing strife, and promoting justice are ways of demonstrating Christ’s love.” Urban Journey is pastored by the Stanley’s who have recently been appointed as the Mennonite Brethren Chaplains at UBC. (They are bloggers at My Celebration (here) and at the MB’s Regenerate 21-01 blog (here), which is “a place were we can share what God is doing in our communities as we apply the dynamics of the first century church now in the 21st century.”)

The concern lies in the area of the kind spirituality they may be recommending (much like the contemplative spiritual formation of Len Hjalmarson’s MB church plant in Kelowna). Urban Journey’s resource page has this recommendation:

For other resources to aid in the practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading, visit:

These recommendations include a prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits called Sacred Space and Northumbria (a monastic ecumenical community), but even more surprising is the first prayer link recommended by this MB church plant. It’s called Pray as you Go, and here are the details:

Pray as you go
http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/
Jesuit Media Initiatives
Daily prayer “thoughts” It is produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives, with material written by a number of British Jesuits and other experts in the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola.

Also on Pray as you go are the following daily prayer aids that Urban Journey must actually believe are useful for prayer preparation, or they would not have recommended them:

Breathing exercise
If you have time, this four-minute breathing exercise can be a useful preparation for prayer, helping you to develop the stillness, focus and attentiveness that you need. Length: 4 mins.

Body exercise
If you have time, this four-minute body exercise can be a useful preparation for prayer, helping you to develop the stillness, focus and attentiveness that you need. Length: 4 mins.

*There are also daily prayer thoughts, like this October selection, which begins with a prayer bell:
http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/mp3/PAYG_101019.mp3

Because it is a Jesuit website with Jesuit spirituality, it promotes Jesuit Retreats and spirituality centres, such as:

Mount Street Jesuit Centre London W1
Underpinned by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola,
the Centre provides a range of evening and weekend courses and activities
in spirituality and theology, designed to help adults grow in their faith.

Ignatian Spirituality Centre Glasgow
A welcoming space in the heart of the city of Glasgow,
the centre offers opportunities for people to reflect on the
presence of God in their lives and respond to that presence.

Loyola Hall Rainhill, Merseyside
Loyola Hall offers many retreats and courses catering to many kinds of needs.
Their extensive programme offers individually guided retreats of various lengths from weekends,
through mid-week or 8-day retreats, to the full 30-day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

St Beuno’s North Wales
Take time to think, pray and relax in beautiful North Wales:
Quiet weekends, 6-day, 8-day, and 30-day retreats
inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius.

Inigo Enterprises New Malden, Surrey
A centre for resources and courses based on
the spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola.

Sacred Space
Daily prayer on your computer screen, in the Ignatian tradition, produced by
the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin. With over twenty million visits
recorded, Sacred Space is one of the world’s top spirituality sites.

>> Map of Jesuit spirituality centres in Britain

>> Jesuit spirituality centres in Europe

>> Jesuit spirituality centres in the USA

>> More about Ignatian/Jesuit Spirituality from the British Jesuits.

>> Online Ministries at Creighton University, the Jesuit University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA

>> Guide to resources on Ignatian Spirituality from sjweb.info in Rome

If the Jesuits want to promote all their stuff, that is their business. The question that needs to be asked of the Mennonite Brethren leadership and their church plant pastors is, once again, how they can possibly lead anyone to believe that this is what God is doing in the 21st century with the dynamics of the first century church, when Ignatius of Loyola (father of Jesuit spirituality), the church of Rome, and “Christian” contemplative prayer did not yet exist in the first century. Perhaps they think that all the members in their Mennonite churches are not quite bright enough to do basic math, or read a history book. Or perhaps those in MB leadership have not taken the time to research who the Jesuits are. Or maybe it will remain an unsolved mystery.

For those who do not know, St. Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuits, and it was he who invented the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius (i.e. the Ignatius Examen), which involve the occult practice of visualization. These are not practices one would expect to see in any evangelical or anabaptist denomination, but they are slowly being introduced into Christian churches everywhere, even a Mennonite Brethren church plant.

Here is some reading about St. Ignatius:

“The Roman Catholic Church has a name for those who have departed from the “One True Church.” They’re called the “separated brethren.” Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had one main goal in mind when he established his organization. He and his band of faithful ruthless men would do everything possible to bring these separated brethren back to the Mother of All Churches. Several centuries have passed. Now that we are in the twenty-first century, his plan is becoming a reality.”

-Roger Oakland, HOME TO ROME
http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c60.shtml

“As can be documented, the very reason the Jesuits were founded by Loyola was for the purpose of bringing the Separated Brethren (those who departed from Catholicism) back to the Roman Catholic Church, by whatever devious means it would take.”

-Roger Oakland
http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c58.shtml

What is the Ignatian Examen?

Ignatian Examen is an occult visualization technique taught by Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Jesuits in the 16th century. His exercise teaches one to visualize oneself in the presence of Jesus and then interact with Him during his earthly events, e.g., “at the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the cross, and laying Jesus’ body in the tomb.”6 This has one adding content to Scripture from his imagination and opens a person to demonic manipulation (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8).

Evangelical Mysticism?
http://www.thebereancall.org/node/6433

*More about the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius (excerpt from The Berean Call):

“…I’m talking about the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius. Now, for those who don’t know the name Ignatius, Saint Ignatius, Catholic saint was a founder, the founder of the Jesuits, and this was in the 16th century, yet today it’s called, the Ignatian Examine, these were his spiritual exercises, and all Jesuit priests go through these exercises, but it’s gone beyond that. Now we have these exercises being promoted in the evangelical church through the Emerging Church teachings.

Dave:

Tom, I know some ex-Jesuits who told me they were demonized by the spiritual exercises of Ignatius.

Tom:

Right. So what are they about? Really, visualization is the key. But before we get into the explanation let me give you a quote, a couple of quotes from professing evangelical Tony Campolo, who has done so much damage to our young people with his heretical teaching, not just unbiblical but heretical teachings, very bad. By the way, he writes: “I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading the Catholic mystics, especially the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. Like most Catholic mystics he developed an intense desire to experience a oneness with God.” Now before you comment, Dave, here’s another one: “After the reformation we Protestants left behind much that was troubling about Roman Catholicism of the 15th century. I am convinced that we left too much behind. The methods of praying employed by the likes of Ignatius have become precious to me. With the help of some Catholic saints my prayer life has deepened.”

Is There A Biblical Mysticism?
http://www.thebereancall.org/node/6407

Also see:

Who is Ignatius of Loyola?
http://apprising.org/2008/12/13/who-is-ignatius-of-loyola/

SPECIAL REPORT: The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6844

Ignatius
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/133-spiritual-formation-movement/796-ignatius