Why are Rick Warren and a growing gaggle of Purpose-Driven and Seeker-Driven pastors embracing and promoting Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism? In a previous post, I said that I would answer this question. It's now time to do so.
There is one reason and one reason only why innovative market-driven pastors are promoting Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism. The simple answer is MARKETING.
Since the mid-90's market survey's and data have been pointing market-driven pastors to the fact that the spiritual market in America was undergoing a change and would soon be embracing spirituality and expect mystical spiritual experiences from their church.
Therefore, the market-driven church in a pragmatic attempt to make the church more appealing to pagans, who expect to have spiritual experiences, have reached back in time to find some vaguely "Christian" form of spirituality that they could promote in order to meet the felt needs of pagans and thereby grow their churches. This is growth for growth's sake with absolutely no concern for the truth and sound Biblical doctrine!
Leith Anderson (Doug Pagitt's Pastor at the time) said this at Leadership Network's 1995 Re-Tooling the Church Summit:
We are living in a time unprecedented for its change, a time when “the rules of yesterday have been replaced.” Three specific shifts that are impacting the church in North America are: (1) the entry point being a relationship, not a program; (2) the quest for experience before understanding and the desire for connection to God as expressed in the increasing interest in spirituality and the supernatural; and (3) the rise of non-denominationalism in favor of people’s desire for essential Biblical Christianity regardless of the denominational label. Churches that reach people in the 21st century will have four characteristics: (1) spiritually focused; (2) “socially permeable,” that is, they must be open, rather than closed to newcomers; (3) culturally relevant; and (4) outreach oriented. (emphasis added)
Barna's market research also identified this change in the spiritual market back in the mid 1990's. According to Barna there were going to be several key issues in regard to the significance of church and culture in America. Some of these issues include:
(1) the rejection of absolute truth vs. the ascendancy of moral relativism; (2) the demise of Christian orthodoxy vs. the rise of synthetic spirituality; (3) ineffective confrontational evangelism vs. Socratic evangelism; (4) academic education for clergy vs. practical training for church leaders; (emphasis added)
Put plainly, these market-saavvy church leaders via their connections with Leadership Network, the Purpose-Driven Community, the Willow Creek Association and the Emergent Church through their market data saw these changes coming in the culture and they adapted the church, its message and its practices in order to conform to the world's expectations. They sold the truth out in order to make the church more appealing to pagan spiritual sympathies and expectations. This is the epitomy of what the Apostle Paul warned about in 2 Tim. 4:3-4. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
The Lectio Divina, Ignatius Loyola's Prayer Examen, Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God are all practices that claim that IF you follow the steps created by these Roman Catholic Monks then you will have a "spiritual experience". Yet all of these practices are Monastic Myths and Spiritual Fantasies created by men who were trying to earn their way to heaven through their asceticism, harsh treatment of the body, hair shirts, self-whippings, long prayers, and mysticism.
Again the Apostle the Paul warns us about these Monks and their false piety and spiritism. Said Paul, "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishnent ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." Colossians 2:18-19.
Rather than heed the warnings of the scriptures and abiding in Christ and holding fast to His word and sound Biblical Doctrine, these market-driven churches, in their harlot like pursuit of growth at all costs have sold their souls to the spirit of the age and as a result have forsaken the Biblical Gospel itself. For men do not come to God on their own terms but can only come to God on God's terms and God has said that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ and through the proclamation of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name. It is this gospel and this gospel alone that God uses to regenerate lost sinners and grant them life and salvation.(John 14:6, Luke 24:46-47, Rom. 10:17, 1 Cor. 2:1-2)