Spiritual Research Network

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bob Coy Joins Contemplative Promoters Rick Warren and John Ortberg for Conference

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On November 13th and 14th at Saddleback Church in California Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale will join Rick Warren and John Ortberg for the Exponential 07 conference. Both Warren and Ortberg are strong proponents of contemplative spirituality, and attendees should use caution and discernment.

While staff at Coy's Florida church have told Lighthouse Trails on various occasions that they do not promote contemplative spirituality or the emerging church, the walk-in bookstore at the church has been selling books by contemplative and/or emergent leaders and authors such as Rob Bell, David Crowder, and Liz Babbs.

Crowder, author of a contemplative promoting book called Praise Habit, also performed at the Fort Lauderdale church this past February.

An interview with Liz Babbs reveals her proclivities for eastern-style meditation.

Rob Bell's mystical affinities can be seen in his book Velvet Elvis for one, where he tells readers (often teens) to spend three months studying a book by New Ager and Buddhist sympathizer Ken Wilber (see Faith Undone for more information on Rob Bell's beliefs).

The Exponential 07 event describes itself in the following way:

    Learn new and practical ways these diverse and dynamic leaders have shifted their congregations from just tipping God to experiencing the joy of giving.

Unfortunately, the experiences Rick Warren and John Ortberg offer followers could include the contemplative experience. Ortberg co-authored the Willow Creek Spiritual Formation curriculum with Ruth Haley Barton of the Tranforming Center, a place where Christian leaders are taught the dynamics of contemplative prayer. In Ortberg's book, God is Closer Than You Think, Ortberg quotes favorably from contemplatives such as Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence (who danced violently like a mad man when he practiced contemplative), interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (believed a Divine Center was in all people), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart as well as Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton.
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