What Kind of Discipleship is this in the MB Herald?

If you really want to understand what is happening within the Mennonite Brethren denomination as they slide down the slippery road to Rome, read the article on page 8 of the latest MB Herald October 2010 called Discipleship on the Road.

It’s written by Len Hjalmarson, a writer, pastor, blogger and missional leader who recently completed a DMin in Leadership and Spirituality at ACTS Seminary (see: nextreformation.com/wp-admin/resources/Ldrship_NT.pdf ). This Menno-lite posting is certainly not an attack on his character or work, but there is more to Len Hjalmarson’s article than meets the eye, which gives cause for concern as to what is being taught at Seminaries like ACTS (read more about ACTS in MB Priorities).

Len and his wife are doing admirable work serving those outside their comfort zones in Kelowna, B.C.. They call their church a missional community, and say that the most profound lesson they are learning about discipleship is forming community around shared weakness, confirming the words of Catholic philosopher Jean Vanier: “the poor are a gift to us – they call us back to simplicity.” [Vanier founded L’Arche, a faith based organization where people are all bound together in a common humanity.]

Having just finished a doctorate in leadership and spiritual formation from MBBS, Len’s vocabulary is fresh off the post-modern press as he quotes from contemplative Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen (Lifesigns), socialist (and liberal emergent leader) Jim Wallis (Agenda for Biblical People), and James K. A. Smith (Desiring the Kingdom), notable figure in radical orthodoxy, a postmodern Christian movement (who incidentally is fond of reading Thomas Merton lately – see his blog here: jameskasmith.blogspot.com).

Here are some excerpts from this MB Herald article by Len Hjalmarson, who shows how well versed in the typical emerging church language he is, as he uses words like missional, rhythms, silence and contemplation, etc.:

On missional:

Discipleship in a missional community

Becoming missional has to do with where we place boundary markers as we define the church. What is in-bounds? What is out-of-bounds? Who is included and on what basis? The boundary markers for the church should be determined by where the gifts and callings of God’s people take them. In order to impact the world, we need to be in the world. (…)

[Mennolite’s Opinion: These are such grey areas for them because the new missional does not mean Christians sharing the gospel with the unsaved, but Christians sharing community with non-believers in an attempt to have unity with those who do not have the mind of Christ. While it may be true that people are all bound together in a common humanity, this is called our sin nature, and true spiritual unity between Christians and the world can never happen. As there are only two kinds of people in God’s eyes – spiritually alive and spiritually dead – we can only have unity in Christ (John 17). In order to impact the world, we as Christians need to be like Christ, and preach repentance, and Him crucified.]

On discipleship:

7 discipleship practices at Metro

Metro exists in a rhythm of inward and outward life, community and mission, around seven practices: prayer, meals, worship, justice, hospitality, mentoring, and vulnerability. For us, the weakest of these seven is probably prayer. While we practice prayer in many settings and as a gathered community every second week, we need to expand with teaching and practices of silence and contemplation. We are a needy and highly activist group, and many of us are at risk for burnout. (…)

[Mennolite’s Opinion: Are Benedictine rhythms of life (called rules of life), community, the seven practices, contemplative prayer and silence (more commonly known as the new monasticism) becoming a new trend for MB church plants?]

On mentoring, Len quotes from contemplative James Houston’s (The Mentored Life), and adds that at Metro, staff is required to find a personal mentor or soul friend, “A mentor is both a teacher and a guide, and can help us sort through..our emotional and spiritual lives. They can help us guard against burnout…and they can point us to timely resources in our own growth process.” (p 10) [Mennolite’s Opinion: But what if that spiritual director points staff to Roman Catholic mysticism, which is always the goal in contemplative spiritual direction. Have spiritual directors begun to take the place of our ultimate helper, teacher and director, the Holy Spirit?]

Where is this leading and how are these sticky strands being woven together in the growing emergent church web?

As it turns out, Len Hjalmarson is also the author of An Emerging Dictionary for the Gospel and Culture: A Conversation from Augustine to Zizek. AND, he is the Director of Spiritual Formation with Forge Canada (https://www.forgecanada.ca), where we read about Forge Missional Training Network, which equips leaders and churches to become ‘missional’ and ‘transform’ neighbourhoods.

FMTN is also associated with seminaries and bible schools, where leaders are trained to help these churches become more missional. Members of their Spiritual Community commit to principles that include practices, disciplines, and a simple rule of life. The founding director of FMTN is Alan (Hirsch), co-founder of shapevine.com, author of The Shaping of Things to Come and The Forgotten Ways.

This kind of discipleship we read about in the MB Herald is the new kind of missional, the big key word which has nothing to do with traditional missions or reaching the lost with the gospel, and everything to do with new/ancient contemplative practices and community with the world.

To find out more about the new missional, read these:

The Seductive Deception of the Call to be Missional
by Mike Ratliff
http://mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/the-seductive-deception-of-the-call-to-be-missional/

Allelon and Missional
http://www.concernednazarenes.org/page16.php

Allelon, Missional and The Nazarene Connection
http://simplyagape.blogspot.com/2008/12/allelon-missional-and-nazarene.html

MISSIONARY OR MISSIONAL: THE MISSION OF THE EMERGING CHURCH
http://apprising.org/2010/03/09/missionary-or-missional-the-mission-of-the-emerging-church/

While it’s not mentioned in the MB Herald article, it does sound like this kind of discipleship is very similar to (if not the same as) the new monasticism, a very popular modern day return to the practices of contemplative Roman Catholic monks – and this in a denomination of people who claim to follow an ex-priest who renounced the Roman Catholic church! They might at least stop calling themselves Mennonites, if this is what they want.

Do the MB leaders condone this new missional discipleship?

Recently, the Conference Minister of the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (and board advisor of the contemplative Mark Centre) was a speaker with Cam Roxburgh (National Director of Forge Canada and Church Planting Canada, Vancouver, B.C. who also developed the Forge Canada Missional Training Network where training in contemplative spirituality is taught) at a Willow Creek event called the Skill Strategy and Story Event. [Willow Creek, which many MB churches have memberships with, is also a major promoter of contemplative spiritual formation.]

No matter which way you turn, it looks like this new kind of discipleship is here to stay.

Related:

The New Monasticism
A fresh crop of Christian communities is blossoming in blighted urban settings all over America.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/september/16.38.html

Mennonite Central Committee promotes Mustard Seed Associates (Updated)
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/mennonite-central-committee-promotes-mustard-seed-associates/

Joining the Anabaptist conspirators
Activists found in four streams: emerging, missional, mosaic, monastic

http://www.themennonite.org/issues/11-11/articles/Joining_the_Anabaptist_conspirators

MB Priorities

The following is an excerpt from page 24 of the latest MB Herald ( October 2010) issue. This is priority number three on the MB board’s list from an article called Moderator’s minute: Three words, three rocks:

3. Seminary: With MB Biblical Seminary being reabsorbed into Fresno Pacific University, we’re asking how to develop long-term, effective, and sustainable MB leadership training in Canada. Currently, MBBS-ACTS (Langley, B.C.) and Canadian Mennonite University (Winnipeg) provide training. The board’s seminary commission appreciates your input about this need. What should church leadership training for MBs in Canada look like in the future?

My hope is that you will take a moment to pray for the larger family and participate with interest as you are able. The board invites your thoughtful responses to these questions in preparation for our meeting Oct. 15–17. Please email to MBboard@mbconf.ca.”

-Paul Loewen, moderator of the executive board of the Canadian Conference of the MB Churches

Paul Loewen is correct, this is a very important rock which needs prayerful consideration and research. Are MBBS-ACTS and Canadian Mennonite University theologically and biblically solid places for future church leaders and pastors to be trained? We’ve already begun to see the effects of the emergent/contemplative influence inside Christian universities and seminaries as a new breed of pastors and church leaders are filling pulpits and leadership positions. The Mennonite Brethren lay people should be very concerned. When they were asked for their responses, did Mennonites take this rare chance to review the facts and let their voices be heard?

It may be too late to respond to this particular MB Herald questionaire, but it’s never too late to speak up.

Please consider the following concerns about Canadian Mennonite University regarding their promotion of contemplative spirituality and the teachings of the emerging church:

CMU offers their students Spiritual Direction (see Spiritual Life) and various syllabuses and retreats based on contemplative spiritual formation. These are taught by Gerry Ediger [Richard Foster fan] and Irma Fast Dueck [participant in Muslim-Christian dialogue (sponsored by MCC), and Mennonite-Catholic dialogue groups].

CMU’s Refreshing Winds Committee is welcoming Brian McLaren on January 3-5, 2011 as their plenary conference speaker (page 17, The Blazer, Winter 2010 issue).
*See ad here: http://www.cmu.ca/conferences.html#refresh

They also just had a ‘desert fathers’ (and desert mothers) lecture which was promoted here:

October 19-20, 2010
Dr. Belden Lane, Saint Louis University
From Desert Christians to Mountain Refugees: Fierce Landscapes and Counter-Cultural Spirituality

October 19, 11:00 AM Places on the Edge: The Power of Desert/Mountain Terrain in Christian Thought
October 19, 7:30 PM The Counter-Cultural Spirituality of the Desert Fathers for Today
October 20, 11:00 AM Fire in the Desert: Learning from the Desert Mothers
http://www.cmu.ca/publiclectures.html

Should protecting students from Roman Catholic spiritual formation and mysticism and the heretical teachings of emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren be a priority of the MB Conference?

Here are some concerns about MBBS-ACTS at TWU regarding their promotion of the emerging church, Roman Catholic mysticism and contemplative spirituality:

First of all, ACTS Seminaries is a partnership of five seminaries in an integrated multi-denominational learning environment. “ACTS” stands for Associated Canadian Theological Schools. These five represent the Graduate School of Theological Studies of Trinity Western University:

Canadian Baptist Seminary
Canadian Pentecostal Seminary (became affiliated with TWU in 1996)
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (joined ACTS in 1999)
Northwest Baptist Seminary
Trinity Western Seminary

All partners agree on fundamental biblical principles, and all courses are accessible to students enrolled in any of the partnering seminaries.

But there is another partner not mentioned on the above list:

Why Study Catholic Studies at TWU?
In Spring 2008, TWU approved a Catholic studies minor in the Christianity and Culture program comprised of courses entirely by Redeemer Pacific College, a Roman Catholic college affiliated with TWU, located next to the main campus.
http://twu.ca/undergraduate/academics/catholic-studies.html

Here is a sample of what happens at Redeemer Pacific College which is now affiliated with Trinity Western University (Eucharist adoration, veneration of Mary, and daily mass):

Eucharist Adoration
Come to RPC Spring Retreat this Sunday Jan 17
The Spring Retreat is this Sunday!! We will be going to Westminster Abbey. This retreat will focus on the Eucharist; what we believe as Catholics and how we can apply this belief to our everyday lives. There will be talks by Fr. Gabriel, Dr. Stackpole and time for quiet prayer and reflection, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, a very funny skit, and yummy pizza!!

A Marian Conference:
The BC/Yukon KofC and RPC Present: Mary, Mother of All Christians and Her Son’s Message for the Americas
http://www.rpcollege.bc.ca/index.php?page=conferences

Spiritual Life at RPC

In his 1997 apostolic constitution on universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II emphasized that Catholic universities should fully integrate faith into all aspects of university life. He also encouraged the whole university community to regularly participate in the sacraments, especially the celebration of the Eucharist.
RPC students, staff and faculty form an intimate Catholic community rooted in the common bond of faith and sacraments. Students attend daily mass, participate in Eucharistic adoration, make frequent confessions and receive spiritual direction. Our spiritual activities include annual retreats, prayer meetings, Bible studies and faith formation based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

RPC Chapel
Christ can quite literally be found at the heart of Redeemer Pacific College. All students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to come to the Chapel and spend time in prayer with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament any time the College is open. Throughout the day many students come to spend some quiet moments with Christ in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, while students who live on campus are able to visit the Blessed Sacrament after regular office hours.
http://www.rpcollege.bc.ca/index.php?page=spiritual-life

How does this fit in with the ACTS “all partners agree on fundamental biblical principles” clause? Is ecumenism a concern to the MB leadership in regards to this campus? What about the doctrinal differences between Christianity and Roman Catholicism? Is it a compromise to refrain from telling Catholics the truth? What about contemplative spirituality or ancient Roman Catholic mysticism? Should it be a priority of the MB Conference to teach students and future leaders to stand for the truth and contend for the faith? Or should they lead them into spiritual compromise?

The TWU campus appears to be overflowing with it:


Chapel at Trinity Western University – Some Concerns

http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/chapel-at-trinity-western-university/

The Muddy Waters of a Bible Seminary Course
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/the-muddy-waters-of-a-bible-seminary-course/

Is Trinity Western University helping to Pave the Thomas Merton Pathway?
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/english-professor-at-trinity-western-university-is-thomas-merton-expert/

Is ‘The Still Point’ of Interspiritualist Thomas Merton being promoted at TWU?
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/is-the-still-point-of-interspiritualist-thomas-merton-being-promoted-at-twu/

These are NOT minor issues, especially if the October MB Herald has been any indication (if you have been reading this blog you will have seen how emerging/contemplative spirituality and Roman Catholic mysticism has already spread through the MB seminaries and churches). It is obviously not one of the top priorities of the Mennonite Brethren leadership to separate themselves from the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, which Menno Simons clearly spoke against and renounced. The only rock Christians need to be grounded on is Jesus Christ (not Saint Peter, Rome, or the papacy). To which “rock” are the new leaders and pastors (that are emerging from these Christian universities) going to be leading the Mennonite people if this continues?

Related:

Eucharistic Adoration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE0ysu_35bc

ANOTHER JESUS? – ROGER OAKLAND
1:04:22 – 1 year ago
Pope John Paul II has called for a new evangelization focused on the Eucharistic Christ. According to Roman Catholic teaching, the Eucharist is the central component of the Mass and the source and summit of Christianity. It is believed that when a priest consecrates the Communion bread, the wafer is no longer bread, but the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Rome teaches that Jesus is literally and bodily present wherever a consecrated Host is found. Therefore, hundreds of thousands of Catholic churches claim that Jesus is present in their eucharistic tabernacle or monstrance.
Watch here:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1440171899401190627#

Would Menno Simons Blog Anonymously?

When Menno Simons renounced the Roman Catholic Church in January of 1536, he was considered an enemy to the church he had served faithfully for many years. When he was eventually forced to hide from the authorities for one year, he used this time to devote himself to reflection and writing. Had there been computer technology in the 16th century, would Menno Simons have used it during the time he was in hiding?

Today a reader (who has chosen to call themselves Menno Simons) has made the following thought provoking comment which deserves consideration:

I think if Menno Simons had a blog, he would include his name.

Do you really think so?

Menno Simons went into hiding for a time from those who did not accept his message.

Just because there are those who are reluctant to reveal their identity on the internet does not mean that their message is cowardly or false. It could simply mean that they are obedient enough to speak under the conviction of the Lord, even if it is with fear and trembling, but do not feel free to jeopardize themselves, their career, or their families, by stepping into the public spotlight. But somehow, their message needs to go public.

Consider also the fact that there are many well known writers who have chosen to use pen names for personal reasons. Does this invalidate their words, books, or opinions in their articles?

Not too long ago there was a group from a certain Mennonite seminary that called themselves the 18 Men, who came on the blog scene temporarily to try to make a difference. They had biblically based concerns and godly convictions regarding some serious doctrinal issues within their Bible seminary, but chose to remain anonymous for personal reasons. Their efforts were successful. Does this mean that their message was invalid? Hardly.

Also to consider are the following well thought out comments (which surprisingly have thus far been allowed to remain) under the famous article below. These are very helpful in regards to the valid reasons why some bloggers might choose to blog anonymously, and whether Menno Simons would have done the same:

The Trouble with Blogs
http://www.usmb.org/the-trouble-with-blogs

When the bold and outspoken ministry of Menno Simons jeopardized his safety, he went into hiding after a spiritual struggle of 11 years. This is what he wrote during this time:

“Pondering these things my conscience tormented me so that I could no longer endure it. . . . If I through bodily fear do not lay bare the foundation of the truth, nor use all my powers to direct the wandering flock who would gladly do their duty if they knew it, to the true pastures of Christ — oh, how shall their shed blood, shed in the midst of transgression, rise against me at the judgment of the Almighty and pronounce sentence against my poor, miserable soul!”
-http://www.history.com/topics/menno-simons

At the above link we also read:

Menno spent a quiet year in hiding, finding a sense of direction for his future work. During this time he wrote “The Spiritual Resurrection,” “The New Birth,” and “Meditation on the Twenty-third Psalm.” Late in 1536 or early 1537, he received believer’s baptism, was called to leadership by the peaceful Anabaptist group founded in 1534 by Obbe Philips, and was ordained by Obbe. He also married. From this time on his life was in constant danger as a heretic. In 1542 the Holy Roman emperor Charles V (1500-58) himself issued an edict against him, promising 100 guilders reward for his arrest. One of the first Anabaptist believers to be executed for sheltering Menno was Tyaard Renicx of Leeuwarden, in 1539.

-http://www.history.com/topics/menno-simons

Thankfully, we are not in danger of arrest and martyrdom for telling the truth about what is happening to the Mennonite Brethren denomination today as it leads its members back (via the emerging church and contemplative spiritual formation) to the Roman Catholic church and her doctrines which their namesake, Menno Simons, so bravely denounced.

Related:

The Emerging Church: Another Road to Rome
http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c46.shtml

Also see:

Anabaptist Anonymous Blogging Throughout History…
http://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/anabaptist-anonymous-blogging-throughout-history/

Where are all the Discerning Menno Blogs?

Where are all the writers? The Mennonite writers who are concerned about what is coming out of MB seminary and into MB churches (as evidenced in so many recent issues of the MB Herald)?

Where are all the concerned MB bloggers in all of this mess? Are they even aware of these things? So far, most MB bloggers seem to have well written blogs that address an issue here and there. But where is the concern about the down slide that is happening and what is being disguised as evangelical Christianity in the latest MB Herald? Who is sounding the alarm?

The Mennonites are blogging, but what are they blogging about?

There are lots of them, from nice Mennonite cooking blogs to gay Mennonite blogs, Mennonite writer’s blogs, and even a hateful Mennonite anti-israel anti-zionist blog.

One of the better Canadian Mennonite blogs called Borrowing Bones is pleasant reading, but offers no warnings. Another Mennonite blogger writes about hockey, NT Wright and Phyllis Tickle’s divine hours. Believe it or not, this blogger is an Associate pastor of the the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Another blog by a pastor of a BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Church seemed hopeful, until it became evident that he has been blogging about lent, Henri Nouwen, and resonating with Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet, thanks to Regent college.

What we are left with are the blogs of Mennonite organizations, which offer no warnings, but only endorsements of new emerging trends, such as the Menno Weekly Review blog, where Brian McLaren’s articles are at the top of the list.

As this (Menno-lite) blog has recently shown, and will continue to reveal (stay tuned), the bloggers of the Mennonite Brethren Conference and her churches are not much better in the discernment department, promoting emerging trends such as the new monasticism, contemplative spiritual formation and Ignatian spirituality.

The search for discerning bloggers so far has only revealed how far the Mennonites have come in the last few years, thanks to the MB Seminary and their new line up of emergent post-modern clones. Their frog in the pot experiment has been a success, and the Mennonite masses are readily accepting the ‘new Christianity’ as gospel truth. But not all of them.

Where are all those Mennonite writers they keep talking about? Doesn’t anyone else care except for a few discerning Mennonite bloggers?

If Menno Simons had a blog today, what would he say?

If there are discerning Mennonite writers and bloggers out there, please get the word out! Your heritage, and the purity of the gospel in the MB denomination, depends on it!

“Go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 3:11

Richard Foster and Mindfulness in the MB Herald?

In the October 2010 issue of the Mennonite Brethren Herald, which is one of the most revealing so far as to how far the Mennonites have regressed back to Roman Catholicism while still squeaking by as namesakes of Menno Simons who renounced the Roman Catholic church and her false doctrines, we read on page 11 an article called Mindful discipleship (the concept of mindfulness is also central to Buddhist meditation and its disciples). The article is a conversation between the new interim MB Herald editor J Janzen and Canadian Mennonite University faculty Gerry Ediger and Gordon Matties about what mindful discipleship might look like for the ordinary Christian. Recommended for this process of mindfulness are the practices and spiritual disciplines of Richard Foster, who many discerning Christians recognize is leading thousands astray through contemplative spirituality.

Gerry:
“…Among the twelve classic Christian practices Richard Foster describes, he names fasting and living simply alongside study. Disciplines, like fasting and living simply, are really quite counterintuitive to us in our cultural and economic setting, but the biblical call to both is clear.”

http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/publications/mb_herald/october_2010/features/mindful_discipleship/

While it may or may not be surprising that the MB Herald is promoting Richard Foster, it’s no news that Gerry Ediger is recommending this Quaker and his spiritual discplines, which involve far more than fasting and living simply. This is not simply some innocuous random mention of Foster’s name. First of all, Ediger is no stranger to contemplative spiritual formation, and has even been teaching it a Canadian Mennonite University:

Courses offered in 2007-2008
10.390/3 Christian Spiritual Formation.

A course designed to help students deepen their spiritual formation in the context of their own Christian tradition. To this end students will conduct primary research into their own tradition of Christian spirituality in dialogue with other traditions. Participation in selected spiritual practices and a weekend retreat are expected. (Gerry Ediger)
http://www.cmu.ca/programs/grad_courses_previous.html

Even before that, his articles revealed his interest in contemplative spirituality. Take the following excerpts, for example:

Spring 2005 article:

Mennonites, and with them Mennonite Brethren, are joining the growing discourse around Christian spirituality. C. Arnold Snyder’s new book, Following in the Footsteps of Christ: The Anabaptist Tradition,1 is recent evidence of this. Spiritual formation is also finding renewed interest in seminary curricula. Mennonite pastors are discussing contemplative prayer and seeking training as spiritual directors. The first issue of Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology,2 jointly sponsored by institutions of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, was dedicated to the theme of spirituality.
A Sketch of Early Mennonite Brethren Spirituality
Gerald Ediger
http://www.directionjournal.org/article/?1374

Fall 2005 article:

Creating this space can signal to the Holy Spirit that we are open to God; it may even help us see that God is already there in our experience, waiting for us to see and accept love and grace.

Such intention, patiently accepted and activated can and will lead to other healthful spiritual practices suited to our needs and disposition. We may experiment with lectio divina (divine reading), an approach to Bible reading that blends reading, prayer, meditation and silence.

Another option is to journal our prayers and, when we have finished writing, sit in silence to hear—and perhaps even record—what the Holy Spirit says to us in response. A half hour spent Saturday evening or earlier Sunday morning praying for the coming worship service and meditating on the sermon text, if it is known, can renew our experience of worship. Taking the risk of meeting with a spiritual director can open our eyes to God’s presence in our experience and enhance our awareness of how we respond to that Presence. Books such as Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines or Marjorie Thompson’s Soul Feast (all contemporary Protestant writers on Christian spirituality) can encourage us with the many options before us in addressing our spiritual hunger.

No two spiritual pathways are alike, but each of our pathways opens before us as we clear space in our daily life—space for attention to God and to the connecting such attention brings to our awareness of God and others around us.

Clearing space, paying attention, being connected
http://www.themennonite.org/issues/9-7/articles/Clearing_space_paying_attention_being_connected

[Note:
*Richard Foster is not an evangelical believer, but a Quaker.
*The above article, originally published in The Blazer, Canadian Mennonite University, Fall 2005, also appears here: http://www.christianity.ca/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=3736]

Obviously, Ediger has been a disciple of Foster and his disciplines for quite some time. More recently, Ediger was one of the endorsers of a book called Longing for God Seven Paths of Christian Devotion by Richard Foster and Gayle Beebe. In the September 2009 MB Herald, semi-retired CMU professor Ediger (who was teaching courses in Christian Spirituality at the time), highly recommended this book.

“Foster and Beebe certainly captured my interest and spiritual imagination as I used this book for my morning quiet time. I recommend it highly. The book is also available as an abridged audio book–a great resource for the morning commute or a road trip.”
—Gerry Ediger, Mennonite Brethren Herald, September 2009
http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/review/code=3514

It has been said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but as evangelical Christians, shouldn’t we all examine the books of spiritual teachers by the same standard (God’s Word) and come to the same conclusions? In this biblical review of Foster’s book which Ediger so highly esteems, Pastor Gary Gilley concludes:

Foster and Beebe can tell us that there are seven paths to Christian devotion but in reality most of these are dead ends at best. Lack of biblical authority and majoring on esoteric experience, these highlighted mystics have led countless thousands astray with their extra-biblical and unbiblical teachings. Foster and Beebe do not understand this danger and instead paint these false teachings as spiritual guides and masters. The book is, for the most part, a collage of apostates and their heretical teachings. Included are: Origen, Thomas Merton, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Julian of Norwich, George Fox, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, among others. It has value as a reference tool but not as a guide to spiritual devotion and life.
Longing for God by Richard J. Foster and Gayle D. Beebe
Written by Gary Gilley
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/book-reviews/4-christian-living/654-longing-for-god-by-richard-j-foster-and-gayle-d-beebe

Exactly what kind of mindful discipleship is being promoted in the MB Herald? Is this another example of contemplative spirituality slipping in between the lines and through the cracks?

Speaking of mindfulness, wouldn’t it be refreshing to see some brave Mennonites (who have filled their minds with God’s Word instead of Richard Foster’s words) follow the example of Menno Simons and speak their minds to those in MB leadership and say that enough is enough?!

***Related:

Some Foster facts to be mindful of:

RICHARD FOSTER
http://understandthetimes.org/transcripts/apr2008/2474.shtml

RICHARD FOSTER AND HIS 100 SPIRITUAL CLASSICS (Devotional Masters)
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/fosters100spiritualclassics.htm

Richard Foster—Celebration of Deception
by Bob DeWaay
http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue112.htm

RICHARD FOSTER: THE BIBLE A RELIABLE GUIDE DESPITE INCONSISTENCIES
http://apprising.org/2010/03/18/richard-foster-the-bible-a-reliable-guide-despite-inconsistencies/

Richard Foster’s Renovare Turns to Panentheist Mystic Richard Rohr and Emerging Darling Phyllis Tickle For New Book Project
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4986

RICHARD FOSTER A RELIABLE SOURCE FOR PROPER CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY?
http://apprising.org/2009/03/14/richard-foster-a-reliable-source-for-proper-christian-spirituality/

Richard Foster and the Be Still DVD
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/richardfosterbestilldvd.htm

Update:

NEW:

Mindfulness: no-mind over matter

By Marcia Montenegro, November 2010
http://christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_Mindfulness.html

Who is…

This list is for the benefit of the confused Mennonites who know there was such a thing as the reformation but are shocked to see these names spotlighted in recent gatherings, retreats, courses, conferences, churches, seminaries, the MB Herald, and recommended by contemplative teachers brought in by the MB Conference. It may be added to as the need arises.

WHO IS IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA?
http://apprising.org/2008/12/13/who-is-ignatius-of-loyola/

WHO IS THOMAS MERTON?
http://apprising.org/2008/08/28/who-is-thomas-merton/

WHO IS HENRI NOUWEN?
http://apprising.org/2008/08/12/who-is-henri-nouwen-2/

WHO IS RICHARD ROHR?
http://apprising.org/2008/05/10/who-is-richard-rohr/

WHO IS TERESA OF AVILA?
http://apprising.org/2006/04/14/who-is-teresa-of-avila/

Who are the Christian Mystics of the Past?
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/christianmysticspast.htm