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