More Rohr Influence – this time at Inter-Mennonite Bible College

Gareth Brandt, author of Under Construction: Reframing Men’s Spirituality, is a teacher on the Biblical/Theological Studies Faculty of Columbia Bible College [1]. An experienced leader of retreats for adults and youth and a certified user of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Brandt has also been trained in the use of the Enneagram [2]. The foreword in his book, Under Construction: Reframing Men’s Spirituality (2009 Herald press), is written by Benedictine oblate Arthur Paul Boers [3]. It’s also been reviewed by neo pagan Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr [4], who Brandt quotes many times from various works (From Wild Man to Wise Man, Reflections on Male Spirituality, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation). This is no small coincidence as Brandt is one of the Authors and Leaders in Male Spirituality at Richard Rohr’s Arizona Male Spirituality, and is listed on the same page as Richard Rohr, Matthew Fox, Scott Peck, Gerald May of the Shalem Institute, Jungian analyst James Hollis, and Robert Bly. Arizona Male Spirituality is Richard Rohr’s ecumenical and inter-religious spirituality program for men that “transcends the boundaries of race, nation, culture, gender, economics/class, politics, sexual orientation and religious differences.” According to his website, Rohr’s rites of passage (which Brandt has been trained in) are about spirituality and age-old traditions, not religion. Like Brandt, Rohr is also a promoter and teachers of the occultic Enneagram.

Other well known names or concepts quoted or referenced in Brandt’s book include Eugene Peterson, penal atonement denier William P. Young, contemplative Henri Nouwen, radical contemplative socialist Shane Claborne, and the Jungian psychology of Myers Briggs.

On his blog (see: My Favorite Authors, January 20, 2012, Brandt shares with readers that among his favorite authors are contemplative and emergent leaders such as Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline), Brian McLaren (A New Kind of Christian), Henri Nouwen [all his books] [5], J. Denny Weaver [6], Tom Sine [7], Marva Dawn, and Joyce Rupp [8]. Among his favorite poets and song writers are Lennon & McCartney (of The Beatles) [9].

Are such influences in keeping with this inter-Mennonite Bible institute’s history of promoting an evangelical Anabaptist/Mennonite theology? Are some students at Columbia Bible College being taught that these things are biblical? Is this what is being supported by the Mennonite conferences?

Weren’t we warned?

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Peter 2:1

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. James 3:1

Gareth Brandt interview


[1] CBC is an inter-Mennonite Bible Institute promoting an evangelical Anabaptist/Mennonite theology supported by the Mennonite conferences. (See history here:

[2] Learn about the occultic roots of this tool here:
Tell Me Who I Am, O Enneagram
What Is The Enneagram?

[3] Boers is a Mennonite who participates in medieval Catholic spiritual disciplines. He is an ordained minister in the Mennonite Church USA and a Benedictine oblate at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, Michigan. See:
MB Herald Promotes Ancient Rhythms of Monastic Prayer

[4] See this on Brandt’s website:


[6] See: J. Denny Weaver’s Nonviolent Atonement: A Critique

[7] Tom Sine of the Mustard Seed Associates is a promoter of Celtic Spirituality, monastic communities, the labyrinth and the Catholic spiritual disciplines.
See: Mennonite Central Committee promotes Mustard Seed Associates (Updated)

[8] The Catholic Free Press pomotes New Age advocate Joyce Rupp

[9] They Sold Their Souls For Rock & Roll: The Beatles Exposed


Richard Rohr Impacts the Mark Centre, the Mennonites, and Maybe Millions

Brian McLaren’s good friend Richard Rohr

Everyone is ‘Rohring’ full speed ahead down the rails (and over the bridge) of mystical spirituality

The Enneagram and the Mennonites

Video: Franciscan Father Richard Rohr interview about spiritual direction



“The latest issue of the MB Herald (July 2012) also carries an example of Romantic Panentheism in the article For the love of trembling trees 3. by Jan Woltmann. Just as Voskamp has fallen into the error of leading her readers into Romantic Panentheism but would likely be horrified to think that her work resembles pagan earth worship, Jan Woltmann obviously does not understand that she has made the serious theological error of promoting God’s immanence and the expense of His transcendence, and that she does not make a clear distinction between general revelation and special revelation, bringing much confusion to the reader who does not understand the dangers of the underlying beliefs of this movement…”

If this concerns you, please read the rest of a new article at the ARCHIVE OF MENNONITE BRETHREN CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY:


July MB Herald Leaven

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 1 Cor. 5:6

They may seem small and insignificant, but they are there. The July 2012 MB Herald (the official magazine of Mennonite Brethren churches in Canada) wants its readers to know (in Newsbriefs) that:

Pope Benedict XVI bestowed papal honours on two Canadian pioneers of interfaith dialogue. Jesuit priest, theologian and author Irénée Beaubien was awarded a pontifical medal for fostering understanding between Catholics and other faith groups. The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester Pope and Martyr was granted to Victor Goldbloom for promoting dialogue between Christians and Jews. Goldbloom is among a handful of Canadians and the first non-Christian in the history of the Archdiocese of Montreal and Quebec to have the papal honour conferred on him. —Canadian Centre for Ecumenism

Newsbriefs, MB Herald, July 2012

The July issue also tells us in Current Bits that:

“The desert is where things fall apart and where things may come together for us in an unanticipated way.” Belden C. Lane, professor of theological studies at St. Louis (Mo.) University, gave lessons from the wilderness as he spoke on the spirituality of Desert Fathers and Mothers and of the early Anabaptists at Canadian Mennonite University’s J. J. Thiessen lectures. His talks are transcribed and published in this volume.

Desert Spirituality and Cultural Resistance: From ancient monks to mountain refugees
Belden C. Lane

Current bits, MB Herald, July 2012

Belden C. Lane teaches on a Jesuit faculty at a Roman Catholic university. He is also a spiritual director whose interests include Desert Spirituality and the process of spiritual transformation in the Richard Rohr (neo-pagan) tradition.

“As a Protestant member of a Roman Catholic faculty, I teach in the areas of American religion, the history of spirituality, and the connections between geography and faith. The relationship of Christian spirituality to the wonder and beauty of the natural world is close to my heart, whether seen in the earth-sensitive practices of Celtic spirituality or Calvin and Edwards’ perception of the world as a theater of God’s glory in the Reformed tradition.
…I increasingly find myself working with men, helping lead initiation rites through Richard Rohr’s program for Men as Learners and Elders in Albuquerque as well as the Mankind Project, International.”


The audio of the Canadian Mennonite University lecture series promoted by the MB Herald can be found here:

JJ Thiessen Lectures audio – Dr. Belden Lane

CMU welcomed Belden C. Lane (see Belden C. Lane for 2010 J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series) for the 33rd annual J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series on October 19, 2010. Their promotion explains further:

In the J.J. Thiessen Lectures Series, Lane draws from his own work on the symbolic significance of wilderness in Christian spirituality. “In the history of Christian spirituality, desert and mountain terrain has often been the source (and refuge) of counter-cultural movements,” says Lane. “The Desert Christians in the fourth century went into the desert beyond the Nile, reacting after Constantine to the church’s support of a prosperity theology, gospel of success, and militarism.” Relating to aspects of Anabaptist history, he notes that, “in sixteenth-century Switzerland, Anabaptists hid in barns and fled to caves in the Jura Mountains, questioning the magisterial Reformation in similar ways.”


Can our Anabaptist forefathers’ escape from persecution by the Roman Catholic church (namely at the hands of the Jesuits who led the counter reformation) truthfully be compared to a group of hermits called the Desert Fathers who adopted meditation practices from the east? Why is the MB Herald promoting this CMU lecture series? Why is the official magazine of Mennonite Brethren churches ‘heralding’ any Jesuit news bits at all?

NOTE: The following year, in 2011, CMU invited Brian McLaren to speak for their Refreshing Winds Conference, which was also promoted by the MB Herald. (See McLaren’s Refreshing Winds at CMU)


Anabaptists and Jesuits – Lest We Forget

Mennonites and St. Ignatius

The Desert Fathers – Borrowing From the East

MB Conference Promoting Next Level – Jesuit Training

Richard Rohr Impacts the Mark Centre, the Mennonites, and Maybe Millions

Anabaptists and Jesuits – Lest We Forget

Have the modern Mennonites who are following the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola and learning Jesuit spirituality ever read their own history?

The following excerpts are from the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) → Jesuits.

Who were the Jesuits?

Jesuits, members of the Society of Jesus (abbreviated “S.J.,” always found after the name of a member), are a Catholic order founded by Ignatius of Loyola (1481-1556), a Spanish nobleman who during an illness experienced a conversion and founded this order in 1534. Its main purpose was to assist the papacy in the fight against all foes of Catholicism, first Lutherans, later Calvinists, and all sectarians generally called “heretics.” Absolute obedience to the pope was a major point of this new order, which distinguished itself from the older monastic orders in that its members did not necessarily live in monastic houses but could be active at any place where their work was needed. In 1540 the pope confirmed this new “Society,” which from then on was the very spearhead of the reform of the Roman Church and of the fight by all kinds of means to regain those areas which had been lost to Protestantism and (to a lesser degree) Anabaptism (see Counter-Reformation)…

What did Jesuits have to do with Anabaptist Mennonites?

From the point of view of Anabaptist-Mennonite history only a few countries require attention: the Rhineland (Cologne, Jülich), the bishopric of Speyer, Bavaria (always a pillar of the Catholic faith), and above all the Hapsburg countries—Austria, Tyrol, Moravia, and from the 18th century on also Hungary. Poland, too, was an important field of Jesuit activities…

16th Century:

(A) The Sixteenth Century. The Jesuits had considerable success in converting Anabaptists on the Lower Rhine, especially in Cologne, from 1557 to 1566. The details are given in a book by Joseph Hansen, Rheinische Akten zur Geschichte des Jesuitenordens 1542-1582 (Bonn, 1896). They “converted” some, delivered many to the executioner, and had most of them expelled from the land (Rembert, 536-541). Ernst Müller reports (Berner Täufer, 195) that the Swiss Brethren who settled in Jülich-Berg in 1653 were driven out by the Jesuits.

As to the bishopric of Speyer we hear of the imprisonment (1568) of the Hutterite missionary Hans Arbeiter, formerly a “Swiss brother” of the Rhine area congregation. From the Hutterite Geschicht-Buch (Wolkan, 327) we know of the vain attempts of a Jesuit preacher of the cathedral church (Domprediger), Dr. Lamprecht, to convince the brother of his errors and to bring him back to the old church. The story is most dramatically told by Hans Arbeiter himself. After seven months, the brother was released. The Geschicht-Buch reports once more of such an incident in Speyer. In 1612 two brethren were caught and imprisoned in Kierweiler castle, where again Jesuits worked upon them but to no avail. After having passed through much tribulation, they were finally freed (Wolkan, 506-510).

As to Bavaria, we know very little about Jesuit activities during the 16th century, although such work might be assumed. Since 1549 Jesuits were teaching at Ingolstadt, where later a great center of Jesuit activities developed with a great university and a Jesuit press. But Anabaptism had already been weak here in the second half of the century, and died out completely around 1580-1590. We know of one Hutterite brother, Christian Gasteiger, who was imprisoned in Ingolstadt in 1586, and again worked upon by Jesuits, but his final martyrdom came not in Ingolstadt but in Munich. “The Jesuits pressed hard” to achieve his death sentence (Wolkan, 423-424). In Ingolstadt also a number of polemical books against the Anabaptists were published, such as the books by Christoph Erhard, Christoph Fischer, Caspar Franck, and Jacob Gretser, although Erhard was not a Jesuit.

18th Century:

(B) The Eighteenth Century. In this century the Palatinate had as its only Catholic ruler the prince elector Karl Theodor (ruled 1742-1799), who had been educated by Jesuits and who now tried to carry out their principles. Of some renown is the case of the three children of a Mennonite widow Maurer who were taken away from their mother, baptized in a Catholic church, and kept in a Catholic orphanage. One child died there, but the others, having been released after confirmation, soon thereafter were baptized into the Mennonite (Amish) Church by the Bishop Johann Nafziger. Thereupon the children were again put into jail; an opinion of the University of Heidelberg even advised the death penalty. After prolonged actions back and forth, they were eventually released, but the minister Nafziger was exiled forever (Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1906): 54-78)….

What was the biggest danger?

Much more dangerous was the enforced “conversion” to the Catholic faith. Children were taken away and put into orphanages, men were removed into Jesuit houses either to change their minds or to die there eventually. Catholic services were held on the Bruderhofs, and everyone was compelled to attend. To all this the Empress had given her consent, and Jesuits carried out the orders, using both harsh and mild methods. One advice was to put all stubborn men into the army, but that was not carried out. In Sobotište, Slovakia, the Jesuit missionary Emerich Rotari was active around 1760; in Levar (Velky Levary) the priest Heinrich (Henricius), a former Jesuit, was active around 1780 (the Society of Jesus having been suppressed in 1773). Even the general of the Society of Jesus himself expressed interest in this work and ordered the dispatch of more missionaries into this field in 1760 (Beck, 584-86, 587, 601, and passim, also Klein-Gesch.-Buch, 233-234). The final result was a complete conquest in Slovakia (see Habaner). Those few who still opposed tried emigration; only very few succeeded in it.


Also see:

Counter Reformation


The Jesuits


St. Ignatius of Loyola & St. Teresa of Avila and Agnes Sanford at a Mennonite Retreat Centre?

Pope Benedict, the Mennonites and the Jesuits

Jesuit university partners with Mennonite congregation to aid homeless

Cecil Andrews Debates Jesuit Priest

St. Ignatius of Loyola & St. Teresa of Avila and Agnes Sanford at a Mennonite Retreat Centre?

“Our Anabaptist forefathers were martyred for maintaining biblical Truth. Are the very doctrinal errors that drove them to their martyrdom resting today in some of our homes, sitting on our bookshelves as a testimony against us?”
-David A. Burkey, “Catholic Connection

In their work book Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God, are the leaders of the Mennonite Brethren affiliated Mark Centre promoting Jesuit spirituality, Roman Catholic mysticism, and the occultic inner healing movement? On page 156 the Mark Centre directors seem to be recommending “a great easy reading book” called Sleeping with Bread (Paulist Press, 1995) which explains a prayer exercise called the Examen made popular by St. Ignatius. The following quote from Sleeping with Bread is used:

“As we do this Examen process every day, a pattern emerges… Agnes Sanford referred to the pattern as our ‘sealed orders’ from God. By this she meant that it is as if before we were born, each of us talked over with God the special purpose of our time on earth. Throughout our lives each of us discovers more and more deeply our unique sealed orders, a way that only we are gifted to give and receive love” (pp. 20-21, Sleeping With Bread)”

Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God, p 156

Not mentioned is that the authors of Sleeping with Bread (Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Dennis Linn) are Jesuits and Ignatian retreat leaders (see, whose message is grounded in Ignatian spirituality. Also not explained is that Agnes Sanford was the founder of the inner healing movement which has Jungian occultic roots.

In the 1940’s Agnes Sanford blended Jung’s psychologized occult views with her own occult experiences and introduced them to the church. Sanford and her writings and seminars became the Christian source of Jungian occult teaching. Her views were directly passed on to a succession of “Christian” writers including Francis McNutt, Ruth Carter Stapleton, John and Paula Sanford, Thomas Merton, Morton Kelsey, and Richard Foster.

SOURCE: Divination Finds Further Expression in the Evangelical Church

When readers come across the Mark Centre’s modern version of the 16th century Examen process on page 157 of Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God, will they know the history behind this method?

“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).”

SOURCE: Evangelical Mysticism?

A few pages after the Examen is recommended in the Mark Centre journal is a poem (p 167) called Laughter Came From Every Brick by St. Teresa of Avila, who is also known as the levitating saint. Read more about this poem and the Mark Centre here:

MB Herald Promotes Mark Centre Again

Have the Mennonites once again turned a blind eye to Jesuit Roman Catholic spirituality which has already infiltrated many of their churches? Were their forefathers persecuted and martyred in vain? What would they say if they were among us today? What about the TREK students who are reading and using this journal? What about all those who may be affected by this spirituality?

* Recommended reading:

Mennonites and St. Ignatius

Examining the Examen of the Mennonite Brethren’s Retreat Centre

The Mark Centre and Silent Prayer – Strategy to Affect Millions


MB Conference Promoting Next Level – Jesuit Training


History of Ignatian Spirituality


SPECIAL REPORT: The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church

Redeemer’s Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola?

Tim Keller and the Problems with Ignatius of Loyola

Roman Catholics: The Neighborhood Mission Field

What’s Wrong With Inner Healing?

New Age Inroads into the Church

Healing of Memories or Cleansing of the Conscience?

Update: also see:


Mennonite Missions TREK to the Labyrinth and the Silence

For those who don’t know what TREK is, it’s a course for students in missions and discipleship.

Disciples who make disciples
TREK is our most intense short term mission opportunity, designed to help you learn, grow and serve. Our vision is for “Disciples who make disciples.”


It’s encouraging that TREKkers are learning be missionaries. However, part of the discipling program for Trek students includes a two month training phase spent at the Mark Centre to learn about personal spirituality. See (here and here). It should be drawn to the attention of parents and supporters that in the first leg of their journey, TREK students are introduced to contemplative spirituality. More specifically, they may be taught how to practice listening to God in the silence at a 48 hour silent retreat (past retreats have included time spent in silence at a local Benedictine monastery), or they might use a prayer labyrinth, or be taught to hear the voice of God through the teachings of Roman Catholic mystics, Quakers, and even a Franciscan neo-pagan priest.

For example, last fall’s TREK began with a silent retreat at the MB affiliated Mark Centre, and a trek to the newly leased chalet at Pender Island. Read the report below written by an innocent TREK student:

The chalet at Pender Island (which is being leased by the Mark Centre) is a place of stillness. The chalet is roomy and spacious. The outdoors is lush and open. We had a good time. Everyday involved work duties. I was able to contribute to a circular labyrinth by collecting beautiful rocks from the beach. The idea behind the labyrinth is to be used as a prayer tool. As you go to the centre you listen to God; he prepares your heart and mind through this process. When you are leaving the centre of the labyrinth you pray for others. It takes about 5 minutes to navigate without praying. It was awesome to be apart of the construction of this prayer tool.

Mark’s Trek 2011 Adventure
Posted on October 17, 2011

The naive students may also receive a work book to help them hear God, as seen here:

One tool I have been using is Steve and Evy Klassen’s book Your Ears Will Hear. It is a journal that helps guide an individual in becoming better at listening to God.
In the journal there are 64 different stories to inspire a person in how God speaks to people and then related questions to help in listening to God. For example a title of one of the stories is called Let Me Guide Your Heart with a personal story from Evy; the corresponding question is: “How is God guiding my heart”? The story helps ready your heart, sprit and mind to listen to God. There are 5 recurring themes in the book: listening to God through scripture, listening to God at work around us, listening to God through our hearts, listening to God in times of silence and solitude, and listening to God in community. I have found by using this book and taking time meditating in actively listening to God I am being transformed. I am constantly surprised, refreshed when I listen to God.

Being Transformed
Posted on April 4, 2012

To discover why this should be of concern, please read the following:

The Mark Centre’s New Book

Richard Rohr Impacts the Mark Centre, the Mennonites, and Maybe Millions

Mennonite Students go to Benedictine Monastery to Sit in Silence


Mennonite mysticism

Prayer Labyrinth on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University