Contemplative Connects to Calvary Chapel

Article From Lighthouse Trails

From me –If you know anyone involved with Calvary Chapel, you may want to forward this information their way.I know many cringed when Greg Laurie, Chuck Smith and Rick Warren were all together at Laurie’s Harvest Crusade this past summer.

“Soul at Rest” Women’s Conference Will Connect Women with Contemplative Advocate
For those who wonder if contemplative spirituality is still making strong inroads into the evangelical Christian church, below is an indicator that this mystical spirituality is moving full speed ahead. And for most Christian leaders, there are no questions asked.

North Coast Calvary Chapel: Women’s Conference Soul at Rest (November 6th-8th) will be featuring contemplative author Tricia McCary Rhodes as the speaker of the conference. Rhodes has been a contemplative advocate for many years. From Rhodes’ book, The Soul at Rest: A Journey into Contemplative Prayer, she states:

Take deep breaths, concentrating on relaxing your body. Establish a slow, rhythmic pattern. Breathe in God’s peace, and breathe out your stresses, distractions, and fears. Breathe in God’s love, forgiveness, and compassion, and breathe out your sins, failures, and frustrations. Make every effort to “stop the flow of talking going on within you–to slow it down until it comes to a halt.” (p. 28)

Ray Yungen reveals in his book A Time of Departing that Rhodes is quoting mystic Morton Kelsey in the above passage. Kelsey says: “You can find most of the New Age practices in the depth of Christianity. I believe that the Holy One [God] lives in every soul.”1 Of Rhodes, Yungen also makes note:

Rhodes shows her affinity to contemplative prayer when she states: “Contemplative Prayer penetrates our heart of hearts, probing the deepest rooms of our interior soul. It leaves no stone unturned, no darkness unlit…. It is wonderful and painful and through it He changes us into His likeness.” Rhodes encourages readers to use the Jesus Prayer in which the name of Jesus is focused on and repeated.* She also says what so many other contemplatives have said in their discontent with simple faith and their disillusionment with the power of the Word of God: “Reading, studying or memorizing God’s Word will only take us so far in our quest for spiritual growth.” … [C]ontemplatives teach that faith in Christ and dependence on His Word is just not enough–we need a trance-like mystical experience as well.2

A comment by me – This statement tells the driving force behind this movement as well as the one behind charismania.  The need for something more stemmed from discontentment in the practice of our own faith combined with methods not biblically taught, while still maintaining a Christian facade, results in the creation of a new religion and a god of their understanding. God is no longer to be revered, honored and feared, but changed into nothing more than a genie or a cheap experience with the expectation that he give to all who ask, fulfilling earthly desires and needs of the flesh. These mystical experiences are not of our God. They are demonic and it does not matter how many times a person repeats the name of Jesus. Pride comes before the fall.

Rhodes’ more recent book, Sacred Chaos: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life You Have carries a foreword by contemplative advocate Gary Thomas. Interestingly, but not surprisingly because of his continued promotion of contemplative, both Thomas and Rhodes have been promoted by Rick Warren.

Rhodes first book was written in 1998, but if her new book, Sacred Chaos is any indication, she has not ventured away from contemplative beliefs in the least. On the contrary. In this 2008 book, she continues to promote contemplative practices such as lectio divina and the Jesus prayer as well as contemplative figures like Henri Nouwen, Madame Guyon, Bernard of Clairvaux (who states: God is the stone in the stones and the tree in the trees(3)), Catherine of Siena. In one chapter, she favorably quotes panentheist Thomas Kelly when he states that “deep within us all” (all humans he means), there is a “Divine Center” (p. 76). Another whom she quotes in the book is Kallistos Ware (author of Disciplines for the Inner Life) (p. 20). You can listen to this YouTube video of Ware and hear his contemplative propensities where he discusses the “prayer of the heart.” One of the people Ware talks about in the video is Theophan the Recluse, another mystic. Rhodes book is filled with quotes and references to numerous other mystic proponents.

In Rhodes book, Sacred Chaos, she instructs on and references the value in repeating prayer words over and over, even suggesting that the speed at which the repeating of words takes place can be altered (faster or slower) (p. 92).

If Rhodes is saying (as we believe she is) that this is the way to true intimacy with God, then there is little doubt that she will introduce this to these Calvary Chapel women as something beneficial and useful in their spiritual lives. These unsuspecting Calvary Chapel women should be forewarned that there is another side to this issue, one worth examining carefully.

It is important to understand that the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality is ultimately interspirituality (all paths lead to God). In time, the spiritual outlook of those who practice these mystical prayer methods changes and leads to a perception that is common to eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism (both which negate the Gospel of Jesus Christ). This is not an unfounded assertion. Two of the major icons of the contemplative prayer movement exemplify this. Thomas Merton proudly exclaimed that he was “deeply impregnated with Sufism” (Muslim mysticism),4 and Henri Nouwen would listen to tapes on the Chakras (the basis for Hinduism) when he was exercising.5 And countless other examples could be given. This change in spiritual outlook happens because at the heart of mysticism is the occult, and rather than the contemplative practitioner hearing God in these altered states of silence as they are told by people like Tricia Rhodes, in actuality, they are entering into demonic realms. This repeating of words and phrases is more like practicing trance work than it is practicing God’s presence.

Sadly, North Coast’s pastors are recommending books by contemplative/emerging figures such as Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, and Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz). But do not think that North Coast Calvary Chapel is the exception. No. Unfortunately, the majority of churches in most communities today are going in this same direction. Churches from nearly every denomination have jumped on board–Nazarene, Southern Baptist, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Assemblies of God to name a few. While there are still churches within these groups that refuse to go down this mystical path, with major influential leaders like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels doing a substantial amount of promoting of contemplative/emerging spirituality, is it any wonder such inroads have taken place?

The Bible tells us that God has given to the believer everything he or she needs to walk with God and live according to His will through faith by His grace. He has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit and the promise of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is in this that believers must stand, not on the “religion” of the world and of God’s adversary.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. II Peter 1:3-4

1. Charles H. Simpkinson, “In the Spirit of the Early Christians” (Common Boundary magazine, Jan./Feb. 1992), p. 19.
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., pp. 153-154 (from chapter 8, “America’s Pastor”), citing Rhodes, The Soul at Rest, pp. 199, 43.
3. Joseph Chu-Cong, The Contemplative Experience (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1999), p. 3.
4. Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 69, as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 60.
5. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 20.

*Technically, the Jesus Prayer is: Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner, but it is often shortened to just the word Jesus.

** Rhodes also spoke at the Unite in Worship Conference in BC, Canada earlier this year with Leonard Sweet and Calvin Miller.

28 thoughts on “Contemplative Connects to Calvary Chapel

  1. Matt 6:7 – Jesus commands us not to pray like babbling pagans (vain repetition); so anybody who advocates the deliberate repeating of a word in prayer (either aloud or in one’s mind) is in error.

    “Reading, studying or memorizing God’s Word will only take us so far in our quest for spiritual growth” – This statement is true but the motive behind it is a lie. Only if we DO what we have read, studied and memorized will we experience spiritual growth. The spirit behind that statement is dark.

    These contemplative teachers will no doubt make a big deal of quoting John 5:39-40. They will isolate it both from it’s immediate context and the whole counsel of Scripture before using it as a proof text to lure the biblically naive. Eventually, adherents to contemplative techniques will see the Bible as unnecessary. They will have outgrown it.



      HI Dave.
      True, it does not matter if we read, teach from or quote the scripture if in doing it is taken out of it’s meaning.

      I have an on going discussion with another commenter at the link above regarding the emergent church. You (and all) are welcome to join in the discussion if you would like. He has posted an article and has asked if we would join in on a discussion with him.


  2. I wrote this on my blog:

    I read somewhere that the latest gimmick being marketed by those in the Emerging Church industry is breathing exercises : breath out the bad, inhale the good, like that.

    When God is related to as a force, such as air, and not as the Person who He is, that is idolatry.

    Anything other than the Person is idolatry. Thinking that any substance is ‘God’, or that God is in the substance, is idolatry. Transubstantiation was the original deviation into this, in christendom.

    Note that when God is equated with a substance, then it’s the operator who has control over his ‘god’. If God is in the air, and you believe that you can breathe Him in by inhaling, it means that you believe that God is subject to you. An idol is that which can be used. God can never be used, nor will He.


    • HI Ian.
      See my response to David as maybe you would like to join in there too.

      I agree with what you have said. God is being brought to a lower level, maybe a more “manageable” one, in their minds. In yoga, breathing is a very important aspect for concentration (centering) and purification. I know that contemplative church uses method of breathing; Rob Bell is one who is teaching on this as are others. I go to Apprising and The Lighthouse for most of my info in those areas. At one point I started listening to a “sermon” Bell taught at his church which was exactly that, but I didn’t have the time to as it was nearly an hour. I may go back to see if I can find the link. It was through one of those sites I mentioned.

      Interesting, contemplative believes they can move Him in and out by breathing, and charismania believes they can “pass” Him around through touch. Both groups have separated themselves from the truth.


  3. I call this “going star wars’ as in “My pastor went star wars on me when he started doling out the “Holy Spirit” and passing out mantles.”


  4. I really like this post. I’ve been noticing among Christians in my personal life, this mystic thing seems to be taking over a lot of them. From them having to use crucifixes to ward off demons to something called being ordained and receiving a “prayer rope” from the episcapailin (sic) church.

    This past Sunday my hubby and I were invited to some kind of ceremony where the pastor’s wife was going to be ordained or something as “the mother of the church” and “recieve her prayer rope.”
    I thought, “What the????” I told her husband thanks for inviting us. (I knew we would not go and surprised they would even invite us, beings they know how out spoken i am and can “find fault with just about everything,” so they think.)

    The thing about all these kinds of people are THEY are the very ones who would tell us — the ones who adhere to the Word — that we are being “religious.” Oh well, whadda ya do? You tell them you think they are wrong and they stop fellowshipping with ya, or either ya keep your mouth shut and find yourself not fellowshipping with them. That’s my case anyway. I just haven’t had a chance to tell this couple what I think, yet. (Imagine that!) I didn’t want to rain on their little rope party just yet! I can’t but help think that these people know THEY are the ones being “religious” when they ADD to the Word of God. I mean, come on… don’t they know what the Word says at the end of Revelation, that if you add or take away from the Word…..?


    • Hi. I like that “rope party”.
      I was just reading an article from Lighthouse Trails on this merging with the mystics. I might put it up.

      Crucifixes to ward off demons…and vampires, yeah, in movies that adhere to the catholic beliefe, but not in real life since a crucifix is all about a dead jesus and not the living powerful God that He is!!! Think the demons and vamps know it? yah! hehe

      I know what you mean though and I was just recently told that I am critical and find fault in everything, that I look for things that are wrong and that I am an extremist. I guess we just need to all get along, we are the world and all that, huh? Nope. Not me. If others want to line up cuz it’s all so fun and feels good, then go on along. I won’t join in this time.

      There is only one true word of God – only one. When they bring other things into it, then they have parted from the truth. And yes, yes – add to it. That alone should be enough to scare anyone back to reading it the way it was written.

      Blessings to you my friend, and thank you for contending for the truth! 🙂


  5. I would suggest there are two things going here (prayer stuff):

    1. People just don’t know what “to do” when praying.
    2. Some are capitalizing (literally) on suggesting what to do.

    Just about every figure in scripture spent a lot of time leaving, to a remote place, and praying. The scripture isn’t clear about what exactly went on during that time. Some of the translations are close to mediation (which is just sitting/waiting on the Lord) and this has been changed into some strange definitions (which are marketable).

    If someone wants to do Yoga, chant Jesus 1000 times, and repeat things over and over–I’m sure there is worse things they could be doing. Christ centered is all that matters (thus the Lords prayer).


    • Contemplative – emergent beliefs come from other religions. Missionality is more Catholic based, with emphasis on “desert fathers” and whose supporters believe the true church was Catholic. Not so, as the bible does not show us any Catholic methods of prayer or atonement, etc. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Nor can the true church be traced back to Catholicism which was a break from the true.

      There are the groups who bring in practices from eastern religions (what we used to refer to as new age) – meditation, breath prayers, chanting, yoga, mantras, labrynths, etc. These practices coming from Buddhists, and Hindus believe in becoming one with god or a mind set and in so practicing are able to achieve a higher plane of spirituality. Again, nothing of this in the bible. We repent, are forgiven, and are given the Holy Spirit who resides in us. Christianity is the only faith, the only religion that does not need the practice of these other things. And to do so is to separate from God. We cannot take a practice and stamp the name of the Lord on it and call it ok. It simply cannot be done. If you want to know how to pray, Jesus gave us methods – John 17 and yes, what we refer to as the Lord’s prayer.

      Two sites on my blog roll that do much work in this area Apprising Ministries and Lighthouse Trails.


  6. “If someone wants to do Yoga, chant Jesus 1000 times, and repeat things over and over–I’m sure there is worse things they could be doing. Christ centered is all that matters (thus the Lords prayer).”

    That IS the worst thing they could be doing, to be so decieved like and thinking they know Jesus. It will be worse for them on judgment day than for the heathen. Religious blindness is the deepeest darkness, when “the light that is in you is darkness”.


    • Look at that! Chuck Smith and Alistar Begg sharing the same “podium” so to speak with word of faithers! Unbelieveable. And I just received a comment on a different article that Hayford is doing a conference with Bill Johnson and Dallas Willard! So there’s the wofers joining with the emergents.


  7. With all due respect, M’kayla, I personally (at least not yet) won’t get too excited about Alistair Begg buying on a network full of WoFers.

    In fact, and without rationalizing, I think it’s a good way to be “salt and light” by preaching the truth amongst so many false teachers. It might be the only dose of solid exegetical preaching and correct hermaneutics that many of the listeners of that network will ever hear. Moreover, I dare say most of the listeners wouldn’t seek out Alastair Begg on their own since his message is so radically different. They would consider him to be dry/dead/not “spirit-filled”, etc.

    So, I think he’s being “wise as a serpent” in this case. God may be using him to wake up some of the listeners. We all needed to read/hear the truth as part of our “coming out” of deception and without the internet, mp3s, CDs/DVDs and radio, I wouldn’t have been able to see the truth of orthodoxy.

    In closing, until I see/hear his message changing or compromising, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.


  8. The “look at that!” More than one exclamation point and “unbelieveable” seem to indicate stronger than a simple observation.


    • As I said, it was not a personal accusation against him. I often use expressive words and exclamation marks in my writing. I like them. There is no need to read into them something that was not said. I am more than a little surprised at this by you. I would have felt the same way about Chuck Smith and yet last year we saw him sitting next to Rick Warren at the Harvest Crusade. After which we find Warren is a good friend of Greg Laurie. And after all the years Calvary Chapel have stuck with the word of God, many of them having drifted into the emergent church.

      In the research I have done over the last couple of years I have found many connections between ministries who I had thought were true believers only to find that they were not. It is shocking to me and very sad. I don’t take it lightly. So if I use “!!!” it is out of that same emotion. As my comment in question stated I had just came on two different links showing these kinds of connections. So, yeah, there was a little more there than just words. There was emotion.


  9. By going in the line-up of “dynamic preachers” one is joining a group and that implies endorsement. That should send alarm bells ringing. This is pragmatism, the end justfies the means thinking that goes directly counter to the Word. It is using man’s thinking, reasoning and methods. Light has no fellowship with darkness and mixture of truth and error is the enemy’s most clever tool. Even if their message is not compromised, their position on truth is. This seems to be happening more and more these days. As long as it is tolerated and even encouraged, it will continue.


  10. Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to so with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

    Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of
    Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who
    have been sanctified by faith in Me.

    1 John 1:11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. (welcomes, a kindly greeting
    or reception, as to one who gives pleasure)


  11. From the time this article first appeared, things have continued their downward spiral in Calvary Chapel. Seems like they have done a Jefferson scissors job on their Bibles and cut out the Scripture Linda shared. And still we are not seeing a mass exodus out of the movement by those who say they stand for truth. Why not come out and be separate? Don’t want to give up the “brand”, the “franchise”? Afraid of offending Papa Chuck? If any of those are the reasons, shame, shame, shame.


  12. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
    correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

    Proverbs 15:32 He that refuses instruction despises his own soul; but he that hears
    reproof gets understanding.

    Choose this day whom you will serve, read the word, seek Him while He may be found.
    Be bereans and check everything taught and said up tot he light of he scriptures.

    Matthew 7:21-23
    “Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he
    who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord,
    Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive our demons and preform
    many miracles:’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you . Away from Me, you evil-

    Luke 13:24-27
    He said to them, (Jesus), Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many,
    I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the Owner of the house gets up and
    closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, “Sir, open the door for us.”
    “But He will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.”
    “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught us in our streets.’
    “But He will reply, ‘ I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from Me , all you evil-

    The very words spoken by Jesus I don’t know you or where you come from ought strike fear
    in our hearts. THOSE WHO HAVE AN EAR LET HIM HEAR .

    Unfortunately today there is not a famine of the Word of God, there is a famine of the
    hearing of the Word of God.


  13. You nailed it Linda. The love of the world trumps living for God and reaching the lost. Sign of the very last days. God always has a remnant and these are difficult days for those who are seeking to walk closely with our Shepherd. We must not lose heart but press on.

    This thread started out talking about Calvary Chapel and since then it seems that we can’t be shocked at anything anymore. North Coast CC has been in the emergent/contemplative camp for many years with zero accountability. They have free reign to practice and promote this wickedness.

    The roots of CC were rotten and the chickens are coming home to roost. God used the movement for a time, and the decline has been painful to observe. What is even more tragic is that most are oblivious to it.


  14. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gat and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14


  15. For all it’s worth, this stuff is eastern religion for sure. This breathing in breathing out is used in Hinduism to ‘awaken’ the kundalini Serpent in the base of the spine. This kundalini (demon) serpent, is a fire avatar, a counterfeit ‘Holy Spirit’ using a counterfeit ‘fire of God’ which is why these false NAR liars keep beating the drum of “FIRE”………

    Anyway, really enjoying this blog, started from the begining, & up to this post. I’ve always found ppl who have been tricked by cults, make really good Christian fighters, such as what your doing here. On a more serious tone, we too lost our little girl. It was just over a year ago after 13 years of being on life support, so we have something else in common.

    Take care sis, may God’s peace be tangible over you n your loved ones.
    see you up there..! Regards from Australia.


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