Thursday, September 16, 2010

Henri Nouwen Concerns

Henri Nouwen is popular among many in the church today and mention of his writings and statements seem to be at an all time high. Many first heard of Nouwen when Rick Warren quoted him in The Purpose-Driven Life (p. 269). Francis Chan quoted him in Crazy Love and I've heard his name a lot lately in the writings and sermons of many in the postmodern circles of the church.

What's the attraction, I wondered as I read some of his stuff and then it hit me. Nouwen serves as a source of introduction to contemplative practices of the new spiritual formation teachings. Many in the church seem enamored with this idea of going “deeper” through certain prayer practices and other rituals like Lectio Divina and rituals borrowed from the Desert Fathers and Roman Catholicism.

Rick Warren tweeted Nouwen just a few days ago ( ) and so I thought I'd provide any who would be interested with some quotes representing some of Nouwen's troubling teachings.

My hope and prayer is that leaders and layman alike in this fellowship will seek their counsel and wisdom from the Bible as opposed to the writings of a man like Henri Nouwen. Consider these items:

In Nouwen's last book, Sabbatical Journey, page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition, Nouwen wrote:

"Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God."

Here's some other troubling statements and beliefs:

“Prayer is soul work because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, ... It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is.” (From Bread for the Journey)

"a place for everyone in heaven"
(Life of the Beloved - p. 53)

"to become the Beloved, we must claim it" Nouwen says we are all the chosen ones. (Life of the Beloved)

"The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being." Here and Now by Henri Nouwen; page 22

These statements sound strikingly similar to the famous quote by New Age priestess Marianne Williamson which basically talked about the glory of God being in everyone. Of course, the source of these teachings are the same and the deception is mightily working as some in the chruch claim that these writers are inspirational in what they are saying.

Henri Nouwen himself promoted Thomas Merton, Taoist Philosopher Chvang Tzu, the writings of the Desert Fathers, Teilhard de Chardin(Catholic priest who believed Jesus would not return in person but rather as a cosmic Christ), and Hindu Spiritual Writer Eknath Eswaran.

Ray Yungen writes:

“Nouwen's endorsement of a book by Hindu spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, teaching mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated, "This book has helped me a great deal."

Nouwen also wrote the foreword to a book that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality, in which he says:

“[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian ... Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book.”

Nouwen apparently took these approaches seriously himself. In his book, The Way of the Heart, he advised his readers:

“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God's active presence.”

But what God's "active presence" taught him, unfortunately, stood more in line with classic Hinduism than classic evangelical Christianity

from “Henri Nouwen and Buddhism”
by Ray Yungen (Excerpt from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed.).

Mike Oppenheimer from Let Us Reason Ministries writes:

“Henri Nouwen, a promoter of contemplative prayer and a universalist is referenced by Rick Warren in his book Purpose Driven Life (page 269). Henri Nouwen - “Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love ... For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (In the Name of Jesus, p. 6,31-32). We should expect more Biblical discernment from national leaders.”

beloved, I think you can see why I'm concerned. These quotes were offered for your perusal and it is my prayer that folks won't be misled by dangerous teachers like Henri Nouwen.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Part 1 of an Important Sermon Posted

It's up, at long last. Funny how “tweenagers” can video a clip of themselves chewing gum and singing the latest Justin Bieber hit and just hit “post” or some other such magic button and they can get broad-casted globally in minutes...And it takes us literally hours to post the first 15 minute clip of an important sermon.

But, as stated earlier, “It's Up” and I'm referring to Part 1 of a sermon delivered at Garden City GBC in Roanoke, Virginia two weeks ago entitled “Concerns about Temple/Mosque Visits”. You can watch here:

or here:

Folks, I welcome your comments and input concerning this issue and I have tried to cogently and concisely share my concerns with this practice being used not only in the FGBC but a growing number of denominations as well. Please receive the information in this sermon as a plea for discernment and a sharing of my concerns. Hopefully, you will see that I have tried speaking the truth in love.

Parts 2-4 will be up in the next few days. If you are informed by what you see, consider bookmarking our Youtube page and this blog.

In Christ, Steve

Having the Right Heart on 9/11

I just want to encourage everyone reading this that we need to be praying for Muslims on this and every day hereafter that they may be saved by the grace and mercy offered them in Jesus Christ.

We need to distance ourselves from anything that smacks of the possible Koran burning in Florida in favor of interceding for the salvation of Muslims worldwide.

Rather than seeking to needlessly inflame millions by impetuous actions, we need to pray for the opportunity to speak the truth in love to our Muslim friends and neighbors. That means the gospel, folks.

Acceptable attitudes toward Muslims can include disagreement with the tenets of Islam and vigorous dialogue but not participating in hateful speech or abrasive actions.

While I celebrate the right and freedom everyone has to worship how and what they please, I still reserve the right to disagree with their viewpoints and need not placate their views and demands by softening my stance on what I perceive to be the dangers of a false religion.

This “pastor” in Florida has the right to do what he is doing but I distance myself from this vulgar display in such sensitive times.

I stand in protest to the “Ground Zero Mosque” and Imam Rauf and I celebrate the rights of Americans and Muslims who will stand tomorrow in peaceful protest. I will pray for Rauf and the Muslims who support his version of an impetuous, abrasive, and vulgar decision of actually going through with building this place of worship on a plot of ground that means so much to this country.

Does “pastor” Jones have the right to burn Korans on 9/11? Yes, but I pray he refrains from doing so and does not succeed. Does Imam Rauf have the right to build his mosque on such meaningful soil? Yes. But I pray fervently that he does not succeed.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, we live in troubled times that require discernment, knowledge of the truth, and love for both our fellow believers and people of any faith; Love that tells the truth with no compromise and love that expresses itself in fervent prayer and bold witness.


Prayer Requests from the "Star City"

Greetings in Christ Jesus from Roanoke, VA: "Star City of the South",

Mahalo Nui Loa (Thank you very much in Hawaiian) for all the prayers and intercession for my family, ministry, and myself. The body of Christ has been precious in their agape love at this time in my life.
Here's some additional prayer requests for your consideration:

Please pray for our Blue Ridge district youth rally at Camp Tuk-A-way this Sunday Sept. 12th. Pray for salvation and rededication for our young people.

Pray for our Monday night Bible study in our living room. Slowly growing and we saw our first salvation last night. Awesome! Pray for continuing effective outreach to Roanoke and beyond.

Pray for our Hindu/ Muslim Outreach plan. The Hindu phase kicks off later this month with our first copies of the Bible 9along with a clear presentation of the gospel) being sent to gurus around the globe. This outreach involves getting the Word of God directly into the hands of Hindu spiritual teachers without taking people into their temples. Please pray for the gospel witness to boldly shine in this endeavor. The Muslim phase kicks off in November (Lord willing). If you want to get involved as an individual or a church please call me at 540-904-5420.

Pray for my wife and I's mission to India next summer. There's a lot of work to be done and opportunities for evangelism.

Please Pray for effectiveness in evangelism with the local Jehovah's Witness rep coming to meet me Thursday AM.

Please pray for continued follow-up with young people who prayed to receive Jesus this past summer at camp.

Please continue to pray for my leukemia (CLL) as find out this Friday whether or not I will be taking chemotherapy.

Pray for the continued gospel/discernment outreach with Power To Stand Ministries.

Pray for the churches and pastors of the Blue Ridge district to boldly proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ and the efforts for discipleship in our churches.

Pray for the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health issues in our flocks.

Pray for your role in taking the Word to the world!

In Christ, Steve

Vital Sites

I'm celebrating the freedom to share information as I offer anyone interested the addresses to what I consider some excellent sites that help enhance our discernment and pastoral ministry. Here are a few that have blessed me immensely. Enjoy:

Blessings, Steve

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

You Might Wanna Read This...Now.

Aloha everyone,
feels great to be featured back on the FGBC blog page because I love this fellowship and am concerned about a few issues.i value the freedom we have to share our concerns with one another and this blog page is a great forum to engage in dialogue and discussion about a variety of issues.i have shared of late some of my concerns regarding the trend of Temple and Mosque visitation being conducted at our conferences.i would love to hear from many of you and there are a variety of venues to do this. One is here on this blog or Please visit our Youtube page:

On there you will find a short clip outlining some missiological concerns and in a few days there will be a thorough sermon posted on the temple/Mosque visit issues.

For all readers, a reminder. I and a very few others have merely shared CONCERNS we have with this trend and are not attempting to legislate anyone's liberty. Please receive our CONCERNS as speaking the truth in love with no disrespect to the people involved. Here's to the freedom to discuss these things in the body of Christ. feel free to contact me for more discussion and i urge you if you are one of several who I've been told are really ticked at me. Let's talk calmly and coolly.i am interested in your perspective as well.

In Christ, Steve Mitchell

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Urgent Plea from an Indian Christian Woman

An Urgent Plea From an Indian Christian Woman

My name is Supriya Mitchell and I am an Indian woman who was born and raised in Pune, India. I now live in Virginia but still have friends and family back home that I visit as much as I can. Although I was raised in a Christian home, I was taken to Hindu temples by our maid who was and still is a follower of Hinduism when I was a little girl. I love much of my Indian culture but also am burdened for so many of my people who worship false gods. I know the religions of my homeland from seeing them first-hand, and I hope my perspective helps in this matter. I am thankful that the true God preserved and protected me from many of the evils associated with following Hindu gods or the god of Islam.

The reason I am writing this is that I am here to plead with all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ NOT to VISIT TEMPLES or MOSQUES. I have seen the things in temples that you all may not even think about. I have seen people getting possessed. As a little girl I have witnessed lots of Hindus and Muslims coming to the exorcist who had his little place next to my house and it is still bone chilling to think about it. I have heard the demon voice coming out of those people and so you can see why I am concerned with this practice of taking Christians and even groups where some may not even be true believers into these pagan places of demon worship. The leaders of the youth conference are aware that some who attend Momentum may not yet know Christ and so they preach the gospel to them and urge them to make sure they really know Him. But then, a large group of these young people will be taken into a temple or mosque when they may still not even be saved. Some hearts may be open to possession or oppression by the evil spirits being worshiped there. This is so dangerous and is heavy on my heart.

This is one of the reasons I am so concerned about these visits. I am pleading with you all not to go and send the people of your church or your kids into such a dangerous place where DEMONS are worshiped. Right before conference last year I called one of the leaders of these temple trips and was told that those trips were already planned and could not be canceled. Well, that was a year ago, and the decision has been made again to take conference goers of both the youth and adult conference into these places again. It is a burden in my heart for God's people and I plead with you all not to go. There are many other ways you can learn about Hinduism but caution needs to be taken. Going to temples or mosques and doing what they require is not necessary.

Just remember, coming from an Indian perspective that even removing your shoes is a worship to their gods ; removing shoes is respecting their gods. It clearly says in 1 Cor.10:14-33 not to fellowship with demons or do things that are known to be pagan. I have also been informed that in some trips in the past there was a buffet laid out for the people who visited the temples to eat after the tour. What is the reason to eat food offered to idols when the Bible says not to and there are many Indian restaurants to eat Indian food? This practice is definitely associated with dedication to false gods .All that food has been dedicated to whatever god or goddess is prayed to in there.

Please understand that I know we need to reach out for ethnic people and it so awesome and very exciting to learn about other cultures. But there are other ways to do it besides going in to their places of worship and actually doing rituals that mean something Hindu or Islamic . My suggestion is to make friends with Hindus and Muslims and just talk about Jesus and share the Gospel. There are many places and ways that we can do that that do not involve compromising our faith in Jesus Christ.
PLEASE I plead with you NOT to VISIT the TEMPLES.

for more info, please watch
In Christ, Supriya Mitchell Contact me at

Alert! Stop Temple/Mosque Visits!

Aloha & Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus,

My name is Steven Mitchell and I pastor the Garden City Grace Brethren Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

At week's end, the Grace Brethren's Celebrate 2010 Conference and Momentum Youth Conference will be in full swing and I am praying for a blessed time for all in attendance.

There is one event, however, that is being offered at both conferences concerning GBIM's Reaching Ethnic America campaign and this is the leading of tours to a Hindu temple and the possibility of visiting a Muslim mosque. These practices are of extreme concern for a growing number of people within the FGBC and I believe that it has reached the point where a loving warning is in order if you plan to attend these tours.

As a missionary who has spent time in India and is married to an Indian wife, my heart is really in this plea for discernment. Dear believer, please don't go into these pagan places of worship! Don't remove your shoes, eat a temple meal, or don the Muslim headdress (hijab) because these practices have religious significance to these false beliefs.

Please watch this Youtube clip where a friend and I lay out our concerns more fully:

If you want more info and some more detailed discussion and talking points concerning the further danger of these temple/mosque visits, please visit our blog at this address and read the three-part series about this practice that is gaining momentum in the FGBC.

Finally, I urge you upon viewing these articles of concern to be safe and refrain from anything that calls itself a “total immersion experience” into Hinduism or any other false religion(This is a quote from the latest issue of GBIM's Kairos magazine advertising the Cincinnati temple trip after Celebrate 2010). The Bible is clear that we, as God's people, ought not to participate in any aspect of pagan worship or religious practice ( 1 Corinthians 10:19-20).

Dear readers, please consider these concerns from my heart of hearts. Pastors, lovingly view the evidence and exhort your people accordingly. Parents, be wise concerning the potential dangers of this practice for your young people. Young people, dare to be different and stand against trends that would cause you in any way to compromise your stand with Jesus Christ. Beloved, be immersed in God's Word and you will have the discernment He provides to guide and protect you and help you worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

May the Lord bless you richly,

Steve Mitchell
Feel free to call me at 540-904-5420 or
Contact me at