Lancaster Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Emerging Church Movement

by Jerry Finneman

Many persons, both for and against the Emerging Church Movement, have written about this matter. In this study we will to consider some of the foundation principles, applications and results of that which is written and spoken of today from within and about this “Emerging” movement.

Terms used by Emergents today, such as “contemplative prayer,” “contemplative spirituality,” “the silence,” “the inner light,” are not new. These terms go back to Catholic monastic mystic practices. The terms and practices, among others, were either created by Dark Age mystics or were imported from the mysticism of the Far East such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Most of these terms were used by the Dark Age Catholic mystics, such as Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Loyola and others who were made “saints” and who today are venerated and even worshipped by some Catholics. Dark Age mysticism was the outgrowth and continuation of second and third century mystics, namely Origen and the “Desert Fathers.” What is amazing today is that Protestant leaders of the Emerging Church Movement speak favorably of classical Dark Age mysticism.

Some writers have defined the modern Emerging Church Movement as one “that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants are described as Protestant, post-Protestant, evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal, conservative, post-conservative, anabaptist, adventist, reformed, charismatic, neocharismatic, and post-charismatic.”1 This description seems to be an extension of the title of a book written by a leading figure in this movement – Brian McLaren.

Published in 2004 by Zondervan, the title of McLaren’s book speaks volumes:

A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am A Missional Evangelical Post/Protestant Liberal Conservative Mystical Poetic Biblical Charismatic Contemplative Fundamentalist Calvinist Anabaptist Anglican Methodist Catholic Green Incarnational Depressed - Yet Hopeful Emergent Unfinished Christian.

Mission and Missional

Christ’s mission was, and is, “to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). His commission is to propagate and defend His faith (Jude 3; Acts 16:5; Rev 14:12). The term “missional” “means to be sent into the world; we do not expect people to come to us.”2 

The term “Missional” as used by devotees of the Emerging Church Movement is in contrast to the meaning of mission within historic Protestantism. To Emergent advocates missional means leading “to a focus on temporal and social issues, in contrast with a perceived evangelical overemphasis on salvation.”3

Christianity Today (CT), by editorials and interviews, writes very positively about the Emerging Church Movement within Evangelical Christianity. In introducing its February 2008 feature article with a cover-page declaration, “Lost Secrets of the Ancient Church: How evangelicals started looking backward to move forward,” CT senior managing editor, Mark Galli, wrote:

You might say a number of CT editors have a vested interest in this issue's cover story. David Neff [former SDA], Ted Olsen, Tim Morgan, and I have been doing the ancient-future thing for many years, at Episcopal and/or Anglican parishes. And if this were not enough immersion in the topic, in his spare time, David Neff heads up the Robert E. Webber Center for an Ancient Evangelical Future, founded by the father of the ancient-future movement.4

Acknowledging the magazine's inherent bias, Galli noted that “the ancient church has captivated the evangelical imagination for some time [yet] it hasn't been until recently that it's [sic] become an accepted fixture of the evangelical landscape. And this is for the good.” That, of course, was Galli's opinion. Then again, a growing multitude of Christians, including influential Christian leaders, agree with him. One such is Tony Campolo.

Tony Campolo

Well known popular speaker and writer Campolo has influenced many minds, both young and old, within Christianity. He has been a very popular speaker at Adventist venues, such as colleges, churches and television. We need to seriously consider what Campolo writes about concerning his conversion experience, then ask if this is what our young people need to participate in. The following excerpts are from Campolo’s book entitled Letters to a Young Evangelical, in the chapter entitled, “The Gospel According to Us.” He begins: “As you may know, most Evangelicals at some point make a decision to trust in Jesus for salvation and commit to becoming the kind of people he wants us to be.”5

Later in the chapter, Campolo wrote of his personal experiences. He wondered if he could ever be “saved.” Raised in an Evangelical environment he tried different ways to obtain a conversion experience. But he could not feel that he was converted regardless of how many meetings he attended. Finally, he found what he was looking for, not in a Protestant Evangelical church, but in a monastic mystic ritual known as “centering prayer.” Originally this ritual came from Eastern mysticism. However, it was not from this source Campolo learned how to do it. It was from a Catholic medieval monastic mystical method. He wrote about his experience:

In my case intimacy with Christ had developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time—sometimes as much as a half hour—to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.6

This centering prayer became very popular within the Emerging Church Movement, in which Campolo is involved. He encourages his readers to get closer to Christ through this ritual.

He uses the name “Jesus” as a “mantra” to clear his mind in order to get himself into what appears to be an altered state of consciousness. This mystical experience, is called the “thin place.”

The constant repetition of his name clears my head of everything but the awareness of his presence. By driving back all other concerns I am able to create what the ancient Celtic Christians called “the thin place.” The thin place is that spiritual condition wherein separation between self and God becomes so thin that God is able to break through and envelop the soul.7

This kind of mantra is practiced by Catholics, pagans and New Age Occultists. The mystical experience coming from this, is what Campolo calls the “thin place.” He also wrote about another mystical experience, which he called his “born-again experience” which came from Dark Age mystics, especially Ignatius Loyola’s rituals called The Spiritual Exercises.8

I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises9 of Ignatius LoyolaIgnatius, a founder of the Jesuit order, was once a soldier and it was only when he spent a long time in a hospital bed recovering from a battle wound that his heart and mind focused on God. Like most Catholic mystics he developed an intense desire to experience a “oneness” with God. Gradually, he came to feel an intense yearning for the kind of spiritual purity that he believed would enable him to experience the fullness of God’s presence within.10

This is very serious because Loyola’s experience was not then, is not now, and never will be a Christian experience. Loyola was converted through a Marian apparition.11 This apparition was also the spirit that guided him in producing his “Spiritual Exercises.” Not only was his experience shaped by the “Exercises” but these exercises are required practices for all who become Jesuits.

Campolo continued his praise of the Roman Catholic Church, her saints and Loyola, while depreciating Protestantism while still claiming to be one.

After the Reformation, we Protestants left behind much that was troubling about Roman Catholicism of the fifteenth century. I am convinced we left too much behind. The methods of praying employed by the likes of Ignatius have become precious to me. With the help of some Catholic saints, my prayer life has deepened.12

Campolo is not the only professor of Protestantism who stopped protesting the apostasy of Rome. This is apparent among leaders in the Emerging Church Movement who also use Loyola’s “Exercises.” Although dead, Loyola and other Dark Age mystics continue to greatly influence today’s Emerging Church Movement with their “ancient” monastic rituals. While it is true that this Movement contains great diversity in beliefs and practices, it is also true that some leaders and followers have adopted a preoccupation with “sacred” rituals, doing good works and engaging in political and social activism not unlike medieval mystics.

There is a blend of various Catholic ancient practices within the Emergent Movement including liturgyprayer beadsiconsspiritual direction, the labyrinth and lectio divina, to name a few. These are standard monastic ritual practices. The Emerging Church is also called the “Ancient-Future” church.13 Many are drawing on ancient Catholic resources re-contextualized into contemporary practices such as contemplative forms of prayer, symbolic multi-sensory worship, storytelling and many other practices.14

Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI was particularly fond of the monastic practice known as Lectio divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”). This is a medieval method of scriptural reading, meditation and contemplative prayer, based solely on tradition of the so-called “Church Fathers.” It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as a method to feel God’s presence. (Richard Foster, Emerging Church leader, affirms that in the repetition of Lectio divina exercises, the practitioner “enters” and shares the peace of Christ rather than “dissecting” it.)15 Traditionally, Lectio divina has four separate steps, sometimes called a ladder: reading; meditating; praying; contemplating.

The roots of this kind of Scriptural reflection and interpretation go back to Origen. It has continued through the centuries in medieval monastic mystic practices. But before the emergence of the Western monastic communities, the key contribution to the foundation of Lectio divina came from Origen in the 3rd century. He viewed “Scripture as a sacrament.”16

In a letter to Gregory of Neocaesarea Origen wrote: “[W]hen you devote yourself to the divine reading … seek the meaning of divine words which is hidden from most people.”16 This appears to be Gnosticism with its esoteric knowledge, supposedly withheld from the majority of Christians. Gnosticism and the allegorical approach to Scriptural interpretation go hand in hand. “Christian writers after Philo employed the allegorical method, but Origen receives credit for the full development of the approach.”17

Not only did Origen allegorize—express by means of symbolic fiction the truths of Scripture, he was a fanatic who longed to die the death of a martyr.17 He adopted “a life of rigorous self-mortification (almost certainly including voluntary castration).”18 “Bishop Demetrius of Alexandria, who summoned provincial councils in 230 and 231 that pronounced (Origen’s) ordination invalid, condemned him for false doctrine and self-mutilation.”19

Knowing the history of Origen, Pope Benedict still spoke highly of this mystic in his speech to a general audience in St Peter's Square in 2007. He said,

The “primordial role” played by Origen in the history of lectio divina instantly flashes before one's eyes. Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who learned from Origen's works to interpret the Scriptures, later introduced them into the West to hand them on to Augustine and to the monastic tradition that followed.”20

Earlier Benedict said that “Origen—author of an important and ever timely treatise On Prayer—constantly interweaves his exegetical and theological writings with experiences and suggestions connected with prayer.

“Notwithstanding all the theological richness of his thought, his is never a purely academic approach; it is always founded on the experience of prayer, of contact with God.”21

Later in his speech Benedict spoke of Origen’s mysticism: “The prayer of [Origen] … attained the loftiest levels of mysticism, as is attested to by his Homilies on the Song of Songs.”22

Lectio divina was recommended to the general public in the Second Vatican Council. This was one of the methods put forth by the papacy in their new evangelism outreach for the world. Its importance was affirmed by Pope Benedict XVI at the start of the 21st century when he gave an address in the courtyard of his papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, on September 16, 2005. The meeting was a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on divine Revelation, “Dei Verbum” (“the Word of God”) delivered by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965. In Benedict’s address he said, “Dei Verbum,” the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, was “one of the most important Documents of the Second Vatican Council.” He continued,

We are grateful to God that in recent times, and thanks to the impact made by the Dogmatic Constitution “Dei Verbum” the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been deeply re-evaluated. From this has derived a renewal of the Church's life, especially in her preaching, catechesis, theology and spirituality, and even in the ecumenical process. … (Emphasis supplied)

In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of “Lectio divina”: “the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart” (cf. “Dei Verbum,” n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church—I am convinced of it—a new spiritual springtime.

As a strong point of biblical ministry, “Lectio divina” should therefore be increasingly encouraged, also through the use of new methods, carefully thought through and in step with the times.23

Benedict predicted that through the use of the practice of Lectio divina “a new spiritual springtime” will be brought to the Church of Rome. But this will be the cold death of the darkness of winter to Protestantism. Mrs. White in 1888 wrote and repeated in 1911 the following:

God's Word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men.24

Since this was the situation already in her day, how much more so today!

Leonard Sweet

A prominent leader in the Emerging Church Movement is Leonard Sweet. He is controversial in the Evangelical world because of his involvement in the Emerging Church and possibly the New Age movement. Sweet is an excellent writer and an engaging speaker and one who regularly influences thousands of people. He currently chairs the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. He is also a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.

In his Postmodern apologetic book, Quantum Spirituality, he mixes world religious light with that of the Bible. He writes about the centrality of light in the religions of the world and in the Bible, making no difference between the sources of light:

A surprisingly central feature of all the world's religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammed's light-filled cave, Moses' burning bush, Paul's blinding light, Fox's “inner light,” Krishna's Lord of Light, Bohme's light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus' fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini's25 fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on.26

Sweet often quotes Catholic mystics to support his beliefs. Here is one with an either or construct:

Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center. … In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.”27

Karl Rahner (1904-1984)

The late Karl Rahner was a German Jesuit priest and theologian who Emergents, such as Sweet, considered as one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century. During the initial phase of his time as a Jesuit novice (1920-24) Rahner was deeply affected by the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola, which later was to permeate his religious experience, especially the notion of “finding God in all things.”28 The basis for Rahner's theology is that all human beings have a latent ("unthematic") experience of God in any experiences of meaning or “transcendental experience.”29 He thoroughly studied the theology of the so called “Church Fathers.” He was interested in spiritual theology, mysticism and the history of piety.

Before the Second Vatican Council, Rahner worked with other theologians associated with an emerging school of thought called the Nouvelle Théologie, or neo-modernism. Some of the elements of this emerging movement supposedly were “threatening to undermine the foundations of Catholic Doctrine” and consequently were condemned in the encyclical Humani generis of Pope Pius XII in 1950. In 1962, without warning, Rahner was put under a disciplinary measure called “Roman pre-censorship” which meant he could not publish or lecture without prior permission. But this did not last long.

However, the practical import of this decision was evacuated in November 1962 when, without any objection, John XXIII appointed Rahner a peritus (expert advisor) to the Second Vatican Council. Rahner had complete access to the council and numerous opportunities to share his thought. Rahner’s influence at Vatican II was widespread. He was chosen as one of seven theologians who would develop Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic explication of the doctrine of the Church, and he had input to many of the other conciliar presentations as well. The council’s openness to other religious traditions can be linked to Rahner’s notions of the renovation of the church, God’s universal salvific revelation and his desire to support and encourage the ecumenical movement. … [I]t is not hard to trace Rahner’s influence on the work of the Council.30

Today, largely due to Rahner’s input, Roman Catholicism, the mother church, waits with open arms for her children to return home. To do so she has been heavily involved in Protestant movements to lead the “separated brethren” gently home. Is The Emerging Church Movement one such procedure? It appears to be so. The Second Vatican Council31 was greatly influenced by Rahner’s theology which was ground-breaking for a modern understanding of Catholic faith. And his theology, likewise, has to a large degree influenced the Emergent Church Movement.

Rahner is not the only Catholic to influence the Emergents. Consider the names of other Jesuits and leading priests who either have influenced, or are presently influencing, the Emergent Movement. A few are listed here: Karl Rahner, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Matthew Fox (former Dominican; now Church of England), Thomas Merton (popular Catholic author who popularized mysticism and died in Asia searching the depths of Buddhism), Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Keating. With the exception of Chardin, these men’s labors are the direct result of Vatican II with its new evangelism outreach designed to snare all Protestants.

These men have been the most prominent instigators, initiators and agitators of ancient mystic practices within today’s popular Emerging Church Movement, of which many Protestants already have been snared.

E. Stanley Jones (1884–1973)

Another man Leonard Sweet greatly admires is the late E. Stanley Jones whose name was given to the department that Sweet chairs at Drew Theological School. As one of the most widely read authors during his lifetime, Jones left a remarkable impact that is rapidly increasing in our social media world today. His short aphorisms are very quotable, being often reposted on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Jones wrote a very popular book entitled The Christ of the Indian Road (1925). This book communicates his passion to have Jesus understood, not from a Western point of view but rather from an Indian viewpoint. He expressed his opinion that this Indian understanding would enrich the global church's understanding of Jesus. Much of the book is dated with events and illustrations from his life, but it also contains some deep metaphysical reflections on Christianity’s exclusiveness, which he did not appreciate. 

Jones expressed optimism about the teachings of Jesus becoming accepted widely across India. His optimism never came to fruition in his day, nor has it in our day. He also projected the decline of Hinduism. However, the rise of Hindu nationalism is well known today.

In 1903, Jones, while at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, “found the vocabulary and experience of the second blessing or work of the Holy Spirit with the holiness tradition.”32 In his spiritual autobiography, Jones wrote about his experience: “The doubts began to close in on me. … When suddenly I was filled—filled with the Holy Spirit. Wave after wave of the Spirit seemed to be going through me as a cleansing fire. … I knew this was no passing emotion; the Holy Spirit had come to abide with me forever.”33

Tom Albin wrote that “The Bible and The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life34 guided the young Jones to even [a] deeper experience of the Holy Spirit and surrender.”35 (More about E. Stanley Jones later).

Hannah Whitall Smith (1832 –1911)

Hannah Whitall Smith was the author of The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. She began her spiritual journey as a Quaker, changing later to Pentecostalism. She became a speaker and an author in the Holiness movement in the United States and in the Keswick Foundation’s Higher Life movement in Great Britain and Ireland. Her book was first published 1875.

When God sent His message of righteousness by faith to our Church in 1888, there were church members who read Hannah Smith’s book. In a sermon during the General Conference meetings in 1893, A. T. Jones stated that some Adventists were saying he got his message of righteousness by faith from her book. He debunked that charge in his sermon on Feb 23, 1893.

According to Gary Amirault, of Tentmaker Publications, “Hannah Whitall Smith’s book The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (1875) is an extremely popular book of Christian mysticism and practical Holiness theology. It is still widely read today.”36 In her autobiography, The Unselfishness of God, Smith shares how she went from a legalistic and mystical Quaker to a universalist. The original editions of her autobiography, according to Amirault, “contained several chapters on Hannah's revelation of the restoration of all things, and her biblical universalism” in which “subsequent printings have edited out those chapters.”37 He was emphatic: “three chapters have been purposely edited out!”38 I have access to those chapters, which I read, and what Amirault wrote is accurate. What was left out of today’s printing of her book is her migration to universalism. According to Smith if God does not save and restore everyone, He is selfish.

Richard Foster (1942- )

Richard Foster, a leader in the Emergent Church Movement, is known for “spiritual formation” and its disciplines. Foster, also a Quaker, taught at Friends University and pastored evangelical Quaker churches. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Fox University (a Quaker institution) in Oregon and his doctorate in Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.39

Mark Galli, in 2008, then senior managing editor for “Christianity Today,” interviewed Foster regarding his work in spiritual formation and its disciplines.40 Galli wrote that Foster’s influence in the changes that occurred within Evangelicalism was because of his introduction of mystical medieval practices into some of the Evangelical churches:

With the publication of Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster a change began to take place in Evangelical churches. This book, arguably more than any other, introduced evangelicals not only to the disciplines, but also to the wealth of spiritual formation writing from the medieval and ancient church. Today you are almost as likely to hear an evangelical talk about Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ as Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life.41

Foster’s spiritual formation in the Emergent Church movement is rooted and grounded in Roman Catholic as well as Quaker mysticism. These mystics search for an experience with God outside Bible parameters.

Galli, wrote that evangelicals are very much interested in the hermits and mystics of Catholicism. Referring to “monastic evangelicals” and the “new monasticism,” an insert in its cover article observes how “growing numbers of evangelicals” are “taking their newfound love affair with Christian tradition” beyond “books and talk” and are “now experimenting with advent candles [even] sampling [Catholic] practices associated with Lent. ” “Christianity Today” credits Foster's Devotional Classics as perhaps fueling this latest trend. Galli noted that Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and a number of emerging church writers have “been calling evangelicals to monastic models as a guide for the future.”42

Another editor of Christianity Today, former Seventh-day Adventist David Neff, has likewise succumbed to Catholic mysticism. But this should not be too much of a surprise because when one turns away from the protecting messages God so graciously gave to us for these last days, there is nothing left but medieval mysticism which in reality is spiritualism.

Earlier (in 1978) Foster wrote Celebration of Discipline. He was then an advisory editor for “Christianity Today.” It was this book in which he introduced Catholic and occult meditative techniques to evangelicals. His book sold more than a million copies. Editors of “Christianity Today” selected it as one of the top ten books of the 20th century. Foster later formed an organization he named Renovaré, which is dedicated to teaching spiritual formation through the mystical beliefs and practices of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Desert Fathers. Eugene Peterson another (CT editor) authored the popular paraphrased Bible, The Message. He was also the New Testament editor for the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible.

George Fox (1624–1691)

George Fox, founder of Quakerism, searched for a direct experience with God and found it, but outside biblical parameters. He sought answers about spirituality from both ministers and priests. He was of a “contemplative temperament” who at times was driven by an “inner voice.” At times he was in a state of mental torment and confusion. He wandered about seeking a direct spiritual experience with God. He looked for this in the Bible but concluded that the answer was not there. Instead, according to him, it was within his own heart.

In prayer and meditation he came to an understanding of the nature of his faith and what it required from him subjectively. This process he called “opening.” “Thus when God doth work, who shall let [i.e. prevent] it? And this I knew experimentally.”43

So, what Fox did not find as an ultimate authority outside of himself, he found within. “He realized that what he was seeking outside himself could be found within, in a direct experience with what he called ‘the Christ within, what Quakers sometimes also call ‘the Inner Light.’ ”44 He used the Bible to support his views, but reasoned that, because God was within faithful believers, they could follow their own inner guide rather than rely on a strict reading of Scripture or the word of clerics.45 Fox's influence on Quakerism (also called the Society of Friends) was very great, especially his belief in the subjective guiding light within the heart. This guiding light experience is carried forward by Quakers, today, and has made its way into the teaching and experience of the Emergent Church.

Because of “the Inner Light” experience, a Quaker can be a Buddhist also. Valerie Brown, of New Jersey, is both a Quaker and a Zen Buddhist. “The Quaker belief of seeing God in everyone certainly resonates with Buddhist principles, Brown says.”46

Among liberal Quakers, Quakerism and Zen Buddhism have much in common. One major reason for their affinity is that both Zen Buddhists and Quakers turn from the objective doctrinal light of Scripture to follow the “inner light” which, to them, is more important than doctrine. Both groups believe people can find the power of the Divine within themselves.

Alena Hall writing for “The Huffington Post” reported:

Japanese Zen Buddhist Teruyasu Tamura spent 1989 studying Quakerism at Swarthmore College and wrote A Zen Buddhist Encounters Quakerism shortly thereafter. In his writings, Tamura explains how modern Friends and Zen Buddhists share mysticism as their core experience of faith, while also stressing simplicity and moderation in their lifestyles. And in some respects, he found that the Quakers proved more successful in embodying their beliefs than the Buddhists. 47

In the beginning, not only did George Fox battle with members of the Church of England, he contended likewise with the Pilgrims (of whom he had been at one time). Fox was not in favor of church structure and was not happy with doctrine. He and the group he organized –The Society of Friends – actively tried to avoid creeds and hierarchal structures. Fox and Friends were at cross purposes with the Baptists as well as with the two groups mentioned above.

Baptist John Bunyan (1628–1688) strongly opposed Quakers. His first written work was a pamphlet against them. It was entitled Some Gospel Truths Opened. This pamphlet was against Quakers and their beliefs. Who were these “deceivers,” as he called them?48 He was answered by Edward Burroughs, an ardent Quaker. Bunyan responded to him the following year with his, A Vindication of Some Gospel Truths Opened.49

The Quakers emphasized the “inner light” within them as the means of salvation. They believed that the Spirit of God dwelt in all men. Bunyan charged the Quakers as “against the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and do in very deed deny, that salvation was then obtained by him, when he did hang on the cross without Jerusalem’s gate.”50

Bunyan admitted Quakers believed salvation was obtained by Christ, but with further investigation revealed “they corrupt the word, and only mean thus much, That salvation is wrought out by Christ as he is within; and by it … they will fight against the truth: Namely, that salvation was obtained for sinners, by the man that did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary.51

“Bunyan could not agree with the Quakers that the Spirit is present in some sense in all persons, not believers only. Calling them ‘hypocrites’ and ‘enemies to truth,’ Bunyan attacked the many errors he saw in Quaker belief and explained his own understanding of the truth.”52 It is clear that Bunyan did not believe Quakers were “fellow believers with whom he had some differences of opinion, however serious, but as dangerous enemies to the gospel of Christ.”53

In his book entitled A Defence of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ Bunyan placed Quakers with Rome in opposing this doctrine.54 That Bunyan was influenced by Luther regarding the teaching of justification by faith can be seen in his book Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners where he wrote that he preferred the “book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.”55

There is an amusing incident recorded concerning a Quaker who visited Bunyan while he was in jail. He told Bunyan that “he had been through half of the prisons of England, and that he had a message for him from the Lord. ‘If the Lord had sent you,’ retorted Bunyan, ‘you would not have needed to take such trouble to find me out, for He knows that I have been in Bedford jail these seven years past.’”56

Theologically, Quakerism is contrary to the objective truths of Protestantism and has most certainly influenced leaders and followers in the Emergent Church Movement. And more than this, Quakerism and Emergent Church leadership are much closer to Middle Age Monastic mysticism than to biblical Protestantism.

Seventh-day Adventists, E. Stanley Jones and Emerging Adventists

Jones influenced several Adventists during the 1940s and 50s. In 1945 Elder Robert Wieland was appointed president of the Uganda field in Africa. In 1949 he returned to the States on furlough and enrolled in our Theological Seminary located, at that time, in Takoma Park, Maryland. A class on righteousness by faith was taught there and because Wieland previously read some material written on this subject by E. J. Waggoner, he was very much interested in attending the class. While in class he learned, for the first time, that a special message of righteousness by faith had been sent, from God, to the Church in 1888. This led him to A. T. Jones’ sermons which he presented during the 1893 General Conference session. But then, as Wieland listened to the class lectures he became concerned that the concepts taught there were not the same as those presented by Waggoner and Jones. The reason for this was that the class course material was based on E. Stanley Jones’ teachings.

Wieland was called to the president’s office to clear up some registration issues. While there he shared with the president his concerns regarding the class he was attending. Immediately he was summarily dismissed from the Seminary by the president. In an interview with Wieland, seminarian Bradley Williams later wrote a report for a Seminary class and quoted Elder Wieland regarding his dismissal as follows:

I communicated with him [the president] quite frankly my concern that the so-called righteousness by faith that was being taught there in the Seminary was not what the Lord had sent to Seventh-day Adventists in the 1888 message; that this was rather a concept borrowed from the popular churches—not the real thing that the Lord wants Adventist to understand. And, of course, I was full of enthusiasm, I was only 33. I had just been caught up on the thrill of the 1888 history and had been immersing myself in the 1893 message. I saw its importance and communicated that to [the president] and I am sure I was very outspoken in my declaration that what was being taught by our workers there in the Seminary was not that message. Well, his reaction was negative—very, very decidedly so. And right quickly he made up his mind that I should leave the Seminary.”57

A few months later in the February, 1950 issue of “Ministry Magazine,” a book review was published about E. Stanley Jones’ newest book entitled, The Way to Power and Poise (1949). In that review there was the recommendation to Adventist ministers that the book would be a help to them. The reviewer was the teacher of the class on righteousness by faith and over which teaching Wieland had been expelled from the Seminary. Wieland bought and read the book and was more deeply concerned because the same concepts put forth in this book were some of the same which were taught in that Seminary class.

A couple of months later, in April, 1950, the “Review and Herald” ran an editorial entitled “The Spreading Cloud of Mysticism,” written by W. A. Spicer. In the editorial Spicer recalled the Kellogg apostasy. He mentioned the teaching, at that time, was “floating in everywhere like a cloud of poison gas. It was a mixture of Western science … and Eastern mysticism.”58 Spicer’s editorial was a warning to our church at the time of his writing (during the 1950s). This was because he saw mysticism entering the church as it did some fifty years before. He wrote:

The gift of the Spirit of prophecy that helped us then forewarned us that the same errors would attack us again and again. All who see the trends in the world today know that the ideas of mysticism are all abroad in our time. Only recently I have been surprised to see how these ideas get into books and promotions where it would seem they have no logical place. It is as though some master mind is moving everything to bring in the final deceptions. We dare not go to sleep to these things now. …

A man of India in the group of contributors, a scholar versed in the learning of the East, tells how Hinduism ages ago was pointing the way of peace: … “a person may attain to a calm, yet positive poise. … He becomes then at peace with himself and the universe.”

The poise he speaks of is translated “mind poise” by some translators into English of the ancient scripture of Hinduism. Poise has been a slogan in Eastern philosophy these two thousand years or more. In recent times New Thought teachers have made the word familiar to us in the West. One such teacher says:

“Poise develops plus-entity. You do not need the background of three or four generations of culture to acquire poise. You can learn it as you learn the A B C's, and it ought to be included in all curriculae of learning. … Repeat this incantation: I'm graceful and strong. I'm part of the Supreme Being. I'm harmonious with the Powers. Keep on repeating it.”

We must keep in mind the fact that we are surrounded in these days with the mysticism of the ancient times adapted to modern ideas. I have avoided giving names of people and of books, not wishing to lead anyone to handle these things unless necessary.59

Wieland read this editorial by Spicer, then wrote to him asking if the concern in the article was about the review of Jones’ book in “Ministry Magazine.” “Elder Spicer replied im-mediately and said—yes, that’s exactly what he had referenced to. That he regarded E. Stanley Jones as doing about the worse work of any modern religious agent.”60

Six months later Elder Spicer wrote once again about Eastern mysticism, this time connecting Jones with it. “Again, a few words from Dr. E. Stanley Jones, Indian missionary and advocate of the union of the great churches in America. He said at [a] gathering in India:

“There are many things that are good and beautiful and true in India's culture and religions. The Christian movement will not be indifferent to or hostile toward these things, but will take them up and embody them in itself. … ‘I came not to destroy, but to fulfil,’ is an open door to this attitude.61 62

Our call, they say, is to share with non-Christian faiths, and this sharing means not only giving out what one has to non-Christians, but sharing what they have in their own faiths. … It means that Christ Himself has deficiencies, which are to be supplied by other faiths.63 (Emphasis supplied).

Thus the ancient controversies are revived. And these ideas are becoming increasingly prevalent. The apostle Paul's last counsel to Christian teachers was, “Preach the word.” Mr. Jones says, “If Christ is to be presented He must be presented out of experience. Our message must not be merely a message passed on from a book.”64 (Emphasis supplied).

Think of this in a time when mankind can find help only in the gospel of Christ. Men today do not hesitate to depreciate the Holy Scriptures by putting them in the class with other sacred writings. And Christ is depreciated by being set forth as having deficiencies to be supplied by other faiths. This is not the Christ of the Scripture that is set forth. Yet in these days ideas of this kind pass as liberal and deep. The worst of it is that too much of this miscellaneous literature of unbelief is being read among our own people.65 (Emphasis supplied).

As mentioned earlier, Leonard Sweet is a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon and he is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School. There can be no doubt that Jones’ life and mysticism have impacted Sweet’s life. With Sweet’s involvement in the Emerging Church Movement and his dependence on Catholic mystics to support his beliefs, it should give Adventists pause (as to reconsider) his influence. Some of our pastors have received their professional degrees – Doctor of Ministry degrees from George Fox University – sitting at Sweet’s feet. Some of these men became the initial leaders of the popular “One Project” organization within Adventism.

Spectrum writers speculated that perhaps this Project is a continuation of the message of 1888. To the question posed by Charles Scriven in his article, “Jesus … Full Stop … All … Full Stop,” he asked: “Is it [the One Project] the second coming of 1888?”66 The answer is “no.” Later that year, on a Spectrum blog the following was posted: “It is from this [1888] crisis that the One Project appears to build some of its philosophy.”67 Again, the answer is, not so. None of it. The “One Project” is permeated with the philosophy of the Emerging Church, which in essence is monastic mysticism. The message of 1888 is the doctrine and the experience of justification by faith in Christ alone which is “the Third Angel’s Message in verity.”68

Former Adventist pastor, Ryan Bell, got into trouble with his Conference over some of his teachings and was put out of Church employment. Before his dismissal he wrote an article that was published in Fuller University’s “Theology News & Notes.” The article was entitled “From the Margins: Engaging Missional Life in the Seventh-day Adventist Church”69 His article was about his struggles as an Adventist pastor. He with others with the same mind-set felt marginalized. Bell wrote, “After ten years of ministry I was discovering that being a pastor in my denominational system is a very prescribed undertaking. The expectations are clear and the path of ministry is marked out in advance. I am called there to implement “company policy.” He was more interested in “emerging theology” and the “missional life” of the Emergents than in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its mission.

No doubt, Conference leaders labored long with Ryan before letting him go. I listened to his last sermon as pastor of the Hollywood, CA, SDA Church. In addition to his last sermon as an Adventist pastor, I listened to a couple of his lectures regarding his experience after leaving pastoral work and Adventism. Not only did he leave Adventism, he left Christianity. He decided to become an atheist for one year. At the end of the year Ryan decided that he was an agnostic humanist.

Bell has been involved with the Emergent Movement for some time. How much influence fellow Emergents had on him, has not been discussed to my knowledge. There may have been other factors involved in his release from pastoral work, but those factors are not the concern of this paper.

When Ryan interviewed Brian McLaren, McLaren supported him and was pleased that he broke with conservative Adventism and its literal interpretation of Scripture. McLaren’s interest is not in this direction at all. He is not interested in the doctrine of the soon return of Jesus as taught by Seventh-day Adventists. His interest is “missional” which is a social gospel concerned with cleaning up planet earth in order to save it for future generations. To give McLaren the benefit of doubt, because he is a pastor, hopefully he was, and is trying, to influence Ryan to return to God. This, however, was not apparent in the interview that I saw.

Another program to which I listened was of Ryan relating an incident that occurred between himself and his pre-teen daughter while together in a store. There she pled with her dad to return to God. This plea did not seem to affect him in the least. No doubt her heart must have broken because of Ryan’s response to her in expressing his unbelief. Today Bell’s lifestyle is in harmony with his unbelief. Whether he has gone too far to return to God, only God knows.

In pondering Ryan’s experiences after he left Adventism, I am reminded of a portion of a letter written by Mrs. White to D. M. Canright after his last departure from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (I am not implying that Ryan is on the same level with Canright, in ability or influence, because Ryan is not at all in the same league with him). Following is what Mrs. White wrote to Canright:

Elder D. M. Canright Dear Brother: I was made sad to hear of your decision, but I have had reason to expect it. It is a time when God is testing and proving His people. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Only those will stand whose souls are riveted to the eternal Rock. Those who lean to their own understanding, those who are not constantly abiding in Christ, will be subject to just such changes as this. If your faith has been grounded in man, we may then expect just such results.

But if you have decided to cut all connection with us as a people, I have one request to make, for your own sake as well as for Christ's sake: keep away from our people, do not visit them and talk your doubts and darkness among them. …

I beg of you to keep your doubts, your questionings, your skepticism to yourself. … 70

Toward the end of her letter she repeated:

I beg of you to go entirely away from those who believe the truth; for if you have chosen the world and the friends of the world, go with those of your own choice. Do not poison the minds of others and make yourself Satan's special agent to work the ruin of souls. If you have not fully taken your stand, make haste to resist the devil before it shall be forever too late. Do not take another step into darkness, but take your position as a man of God.71

It behooves us all to heed the warning given in this letter to Canright. He refused to heed the warning and consequently he is eternally lost. Most certainly we are in the “shaking time” right now. And this shaking will continue, even more intensely, with the passing of time. One day we shall observe millions72 of Seventh-day Adventists leaving this church. This will occur during the time of one of the most severe shakings in the history of Christianity. Everything that can be shaken out will be; that which cannot be shaken out will remain, with God, eternally.

Realizing our infirmities and the manifold enticements of the enemy of God and man, we must become firmly grounded in a subjective experience with Christ and also with His clear objective doctrinal teachings as outlined in the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14:6-12. These messages are, and will continue to be, the special target of attack by apostate men and fallen angels as they continue to unite in their attempt to destroy the messages along with those who proclaim them. The doctrines under attack now will continue to be so in the future. These teachings are the everlasting gospel, the pre-advent judgment, creation, the worship of the true God, the law of God and the faith of Jesus. This involves justification by faith which is the third angel’s message “in verity.”73

It was especially the doctrine of justification by faith that sixteenth century Catholic mystics viciously attacked. Luther clearly and concisely defined the issues in his day. There were men, some preceding him, who attempted to reform the Catholic Church –such men as Hus, Savonarola and in Luther’s day, Erasmus and others. Luther wrote of the futility of this method. He went to the underlying issue. He realized that which was required was a stronger emphasis on sound doctrine, while reformers before him concentrated more on conduct. He wrote: “Others before me have contested practice. But to contest doctrine, that is to grab the goose by the neck!” 74 Finnish scholar Heiko Augustinus quoted Luther: “Life is as evil among us [the Protestants] as among the papists, thus we do not argue about life but about doctrine. Whereas Wyclif and Hus attacked the immoral lifestyle of the papacy, I challenge primarily its doctrine.”75

Luther’s central doctrine was justification by faith in Christ alone. Inseparable to this teaching is liberty of conscience, against which the Church of Rome fought with all the fury of demons. D'Aubigne quoted Luther:

“By the word,” said he, “we must refute and expel what has gained a place and influence by violence. I would not resort to force against the superstitious, nor even the unbelievers. Whosoever believeth, let him draw nigh, and he that believeth not, let him stand afar off. Let there be no compulsion. I have been laboring for liberty of conscience. Liberty is the very essence of faith.”76

It was primarily the Catholic mystics who generated the Counter-Reformation. This Catholic Counterfeit Reformation was an emergent movement totally involved in the attempt to destroy the Protestant Reformation, justification by faith in Christ alone, liberty of conscience and Scripture as the rule of practice and belief.

After founding the Jesuit Order, Loyola became instrumental in making war against Protestants. Loyola’s supreme purpose was to bring back Protestants to Romanism, dead or alive. One of the methods used in his day to “re-convert” Protestants was his Spiritual Exercises ritual. After the year 1600 the Exercises were combined with entertainment. It was stated that there were more conversions from one theatrical performance than from a hundred sermons preached.77 Both entertainment and Loyola’s Exercises continue to be used successfully, today, in bringing back the “separated brethren” to Catholicism.

There are at least a couple of questions that need to be asked, especially by Seventh-day Adventists: Does today’s Emergent Movement have a common belief with that sixteenth century Jesuit emergence? Is it more like the emergent Catholic Counterfeit Reformation or more like the Protestant Reformation? The evidence from their own statements is decisive. Like the Counter-Reformation, today’s Emerging Church Movement exalts experience over doctrine. If this movement stays its course it will become a most bitter and antagonistic adversary of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14.

The last Protestants to be left standing are outlined for all to see in Revelation 14:6-12. They will be known especially for the doctrines of justification by faith, loving obedience to all of God’s holy law, creation, the pre-advent judgment the everlasting gospel along with the severe warning to “come out of” Babylon (Revelation 18:1-4).

Let’s review the meaning of Protestantism. There are two aspects to it. One is negative; the other positive, both of which are proper and good. The negative and positive aspects of Protestantism are not alternatives; they are complementary. The negative aspect is the strong protest against the papacy’s insistence to control the conscience. The protest was loud and clear beginning especially at the Diet of Spires (Speyer, also spelled Speier, in English: Spires) in 1529 when the princes, who believed the Bible, protested papal policy that disallowed the Reformation and liberty of conscience.

“One of the noblest testimonies ever uttered for the Reformation was the Protest offered by the Christian princes of Germany at the Diet of Spires in 1529. The courage, faith, and firmness of those men of God gained for succeeding ages liberty of thought and of conscience. Their Protest gave to the reformed church the name of Protestant; its principles are ‘the very essence of Protestantism.’ ”78

The positive aspect of Protestantism is as follows: the word Protestant comes from the Latin, protestans, present participle of protestari from pro- forth + testari which means to call to witness or to proclaim a testimony. The fact that protestans is a present participle means that this witness continues in proclamation. That witness, that testimony, is the gospel of Christ Jesus. It is the “everlasting gospel.” The true Protestant will deny the papacy’s insistent claim to control the conscience while at the same time he will affirm and proclaim the “gospel.” Both the negative and the positive aspects of Protestantism will continue by those who accept the messages of Revelation 14.

So, in conclusion, what do we take away from this study? The Emerging Church Movement is mostly in tune with Dark Age monastic mysticism, especially Loyola’s spirituality. To purposely go through his Spiritual Exercises is to depart from Scripture teachings and genuine experience. Loyola was an idol worshipper of Mary and also a murderer of a countless numbers of Protestants.

Protestants, including Adventists, who practice those Exercises are on very dangerous ground. Not only are they setting themselves up to be led into the worship of the dead – perhaps even the apparition who calls himself “Mary,” but they may become the most bitter enemies of God’s people – those who will cling to the “faith of Jesus” both in doctrine and in experience. The Emergent Movement is based on sensory perceptions which feeds their feelings. On the other hand, “the faith of Jesus” is believing not only in the absence of feelings, but against them!

We will close with the following thoughts from the pen of inspiration:

Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day.79



Opposing the Protestant Reformation was the Catholic Counter-Reformation. It was Rome’s counterfeit Reformation, the brain child of Basque Ignatius of Loyola, Spain. I am not one to look for a Jesuit under every rock or behind every tree, but we need to recognize their purpose for existence has never changed. They exist primarily, perhaps solely, for the re-establishment of the papacy as supreme ruler of the world. To the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that all Catholic religious Orders must take, Loyola added a fourth to his Order: specific blind obedience to the pope.

“Like a Corpse”

The Jesuit obedience is seen in the Latin phrase “Perinde ac cadaver” (“like a corpse”). When Protestant Reformers quoted this, the Catholic argument was, and is today, that the phrase is taken out of context. However, the phrase whether in context or out still reads “like a corpse.”

There is more. The context is about corpse-like obedience in the Latin, translated into English reads: “as if it [the person] were a corpse which lets itself be turned on any side and never resists the hand laid upon it, or like the staff of an old man which everywhere helps him who holds it, no matter how and where he wishes to employ it.”80

The evidence is that the phrase is true, denials notwithstanding. Consider this, even the Superior General has absolute authority over his Jesuit army of soldiers. He commands; they obey. The Jesuit Constitutions written by Loyola created a dictatorship that demands absolute obedience to the Pope and to the “superiors” of the Jesuit Order. Regardless of how it is interpreted, Loyola is the one who said Jesuits should be “well-disciplined like a corpse.”

Loyola produced his Constitutions in addition to his Spiritual Exercises. Both are at the heart of Jesuit “education.” The Constitutions demand that Jesuits suspend their own judgment. The Thirteenth Rule says it is a virtue to believe only what the Catholic Church tells them, even if it's not true. Loyola’s example is of someone seeing something that is obviously white, but believing it is really black if the papacy says it is black. The following is from Chicago’s Loyola University Press: “If we wish to proceed securely in all things, we must hold fast to the following principle: What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines.”81

Loyola insisted that a Jesuit must allow himself to be moved and directed by a superior just as though he were a corpse or as a staff in the hands of an old man. In addition, the Jesuit motto states: “For the greater glory of God, we shall be like the corpse carried to any place on earth and pride ourselves on becoming the blind’s staff.”

And further, in the words of a fellow Spaniard, Emilio Castelar, regarding Loyola’s Jesuit Order, there had never been “a religious association like this, founded upon absolute authority and obedience, which with such sovereign command exacted the subjugation of man and his living spirit, his indomitable liberty, his unconquerable inclinations, to the cold apathy of a corpse.”82

This is what the Jesuit system has always demanded – absolute blind obedience, like an inanimate stick in a man’s hand or like a dead man in an undertaker’s loving (??) care.

In addition to absolute blind loyalty, Ignatius in his Constitutions leaves no doubt that it is to be interpreted as willingness to carry out the wishes of the pope:

All that His Holiness will command us for the good of souls, or the propagation of the faith, we are bound to carry out with neither procrastination nor excuse, at once and to the fullest extent of our power, whether he sends us among the Turks, to the New Worlds, to the Lutherans, or any other manner of believers or unbelievers. … This vow may scatter 'us to the distant parts of the world.83

The distinctive element in the Jesuit order where the candidate takes not only the three regular vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as in the other mystic monastic orders, the Jesuits takes the fourth one – a special vow of obedience to the pope. “It is this special fourth vow of obedience to the pope that starkly highlights Loyola’s distance from Luther on reform.”84 For Luther, obedience to the word of God is supreme. For Loyola, the only church is the Church of Rome, apart from which there is no salvation, according to her tradition. Not only to the pope but this blind obedience conceived by Loyola, true to his military training, clothes the general of the order with the powers of a commander-in-chief of an army in time of war which gives him the absolute disposal of all members of the society in every place, for every purpose and for all time.

The following is yet another instance when the rule regarding corpse-like obedience was reiterated by Loyola, about a year before he died, as dictated it to his secretary: “Write, that I wish to leave in writing for the Society my ideas on obedience.” This was Rule #8 (one of 11) and reads as follows:

I ought to be like a corpse, which has neither will nor understanding; or like a little crucifix, which is turned about at the will of him who holds it; or like a staff in the hands of an old man, who uses it as may best assist or please him. So ought I to be under my religious rule, doing whatever service is judged best.85

It is with this kind of dedication Jesuits are committed to today.

Jesuit Influence at Vatican II and on the Emerging Church Movement

They worked tirelessly in both Vatican Councils (Vatican I, 1869-1870 and Vatican II, 1962-1965) as well as Trent (1545-1563) where seventeen dogmatic decrees covering all aspects of Catholic religion were produced. Protestantism has largely caved in to the persistent philosophical scholastic arguments of the Jesuits. And so today, as in the days of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, there is one only continuing Protestant group upon which papal sights are set for destruction. It is the group outlined in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12.

The theological fiasco within Protestantism will one day be laid at the feet of the Jesuits.

Jesuit influence at the Council of Trent and on the Protestant Reformation

Three of Loyola’s lieutenants led by Spanish theologian Diego Lainez (or Laynez) (1512–65) were sent to the Council of Trent by Pope Paul III. Lainez was handpicked by the pope as the “papal theologian [who] made a sensation by his brilliant expositions of doctrine; his words were incorporated exactly in some of the canons.”86 He continued as the papal theologian during each of the three periods of the Council of Trent.

Paul III became an enthusiastic admirer of the new society. He chose three Jesuits, Lainez, Salmerón, and Lefévre as sole papal theologians to the Council of Trent. The latter died in Rome before the council began its sessions. Lainez and Salmerón were joined by two other Jesuits at Trent, Le Jaye who represented the Bishop of Augsburg, and Covillon the theologian to the Duke of Bavaria.87

“At Trent, Lainez came into prominence just as soon as the question of justification was reached. … No more important subject could have come before the council. Long discussions preceded the definition, and Lainez and Salmerón stood out most prominently.”88

On the 15th of August, 1534, seven men in the prime of life, students at the University of Paris, assembled in an unground chapel on the hill of Montmartre, sanctified by the martyrdom of St. Denis and his companions. Here the only one among them who was a priest celebrated Mass, and the seven look solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, to which they added a promise to put themselves at the immediate disposal of the Pope, to be employed by him for the greater glory of God.89

Shortly after founding the Jesuit order, they focused on counteracting the spread of Protestantism. With their vows of total obedience to the Pope and their strict, military-style training, Jesuits became feared across Europe as the “storm troopers” of the papacy. They led armies in recapturing large territories, even entire nations, for the Church of Rome. We will not go into the atrocious crimes against humanity that those perpetrators of evil promoted and executed. Along with their military actions, their work centered on education, missionary expansion and entertainment theatre to win back Protestants for the papacy.

The use of Theatrical Entertainment to Convert Protestants

I listened to a lecture, part of which the speaker read, about how the Jesuits used entertainment to win back Protestants to Catholicism. He didn’t give his sources and when I called his organization for sources, they didn’t have any and the speaker was out of the country. However, I did find materials located in the University of Amsterdam, Harvard and other places.

From a chapter from a book in the University of Amsterdam, written by Jan Bloemendal, who wrote about how, in theatrical performances by the use of both comedy and tragedy, audiences were manipulated into hilarious laughter, followed by a deep emotional experience of abject fear thus shaping the audience’s behavior. One such performance, Cenodoxus, has attracted curiosity even in our day. Bloemendal wrote about the conversion of Protestant men from the Royal house of Munich who became Catholics after watching the performance Cenodoxus,90 after which they asked to go to a retreat where Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises were employed. Both the play and the Exercises brought about the desired change designed by the Jesuit playwright. Likewise, other plays were used to convert Protestants. I read of a Protestant woman who was so moved that she became a Catholic and a nun. Here are some of Bloemendal’s observations:

Certainly the Cenodoxus, the play compared to which hardly any of these comic performances had made the whole theatre shake with so much laughter that the seats almost disintegrated, had nevertheless in the Audience’s minds roused so much real piety, that what a hundred Sermons hardly could have achieved [what] was done in the few hours dedicated to this spectacle. …

At the beginning of the play the audience laughed at the comic scenes, but as the play progressed they realised the enormity of the sins portrayed and the atrocity of Hell that might well be awaiting themselves too.

Fourteen members of the audience immediately went into retreat to perform the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and the actor who played the part of the protagonist Cenodoxus entered the Societas Jesu and nearly became a saint. …

For fourteen men in all among the most important dignitaries from the Bavarian Court and from that notable city of Munich, struck by a most salutary fear of God, Who investigates men’s deeds so strictly, not long after the end of the play went into retreat with us for the Ignatian Ascesis (Spiritual Exercises) and in most of them a miraculous moral change resulted from it.91

Dennis Martin wrote “Fourteen members of the audience are said to have gone into retreat to do Loyola’s Spirituals Exercises, and the student who portrayed Cenodoxus is said to have entered the Society of Jesus, where he lived in holiness ever after.”92 The performance is commented on by Christorfer Wild:

The comic scenes in the first three acts roused the spectators so much laughter, the seats almost collapsed under them. But as the play progressed, merriment turned into shock and terror as they witnessed the unfolding of Cenodoxus’s eternal damnation and descent into hell. By the end of the play, few in the audience were not trembling as they contemplated the punishment their own sins would merit if divine judgment were passed on them. The play’s impact was immediate and lasting. Fourteen nobles of the Bavarian court underwent the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, the meditation practices on which the Jesuit order was founded, and subsequently fundamentally changed their way of life. But the effect of this performance did not end there. Among the penitent was the actor who played the protagonist, the doctor of Paris, Cenodoxus. After completing the Ignatian Exercises, he entered the Society of Jesus where he led a pious and devout life until his death in the odor of sanctity. As the anonymous editor remarks, the play accomplished more in a few hours than a hundred sermons.93

As the comparison with the religious sermon indicates, Jesuit theater stood in the service of the propoganda for the faith of Catholicsim, by the Jesuits, the spearhead of post-Trent Catholic reform, and was not conceived as a work of art.

Loyola’s Conversion by, and to, Mary and The Spiritual Exercises

Consider further the human author of the popular Spiritual Exercises Ignatius Loyola. Raphael Brown had this to say about the apparition “Mary” and Loyola.

“To Mary’s soldier, St. Ignatius Loyola, more than to any other man belongs the glory of having regenerated the Church of Christ [Rome] at a time when, like today, it was being attacked by powerful groups of who were determined to destroy it.”94

“When during the fifteenth century, the leaders of the Protestant revolt began to “reform” God’s revealed religion, Divine Providence chose one man to save and rebuild the Church of Christ: a young Spanish nobleman named Inigo de Loyola. And as we shall see in significant excerpts from his autobiography, this extraordinary man who became the founder and commander-in-chief of the vast army of well-trained soldiers of God known as the Society of Jesus was converted in only one year by the Blessed Virgin herself, from a very worldly life to one of heroic sanctity.” 95

Loyola had many visions of the apparition who called himself “Mary.” His first vison was during recovery from battle wounds while fighting against a French army. He read a fictitious book about the “Saints” and decided on a religious life after that. He wanted to emulate and to surpass the experiences and the works especially of two popular fanatics who preceded him: Francis of Assisi and Dominic.

Two Protestant teachers from Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, Margo Heydt and Sarah Melcher, along with several other Jesuit university colleagues undertook a ten day Ignatian pilgrimage. “Our intention, when we began our journey, was to write from a feminist perspective about our experiences in learning about the history of a religious order of men.”

What they discovered, to their delight, was that “supposedly” Mary had a major role in the conversion and conduct of Loyola. “First, we share with you our surprise and delight at discovering how significant the influence of Mary, the mother of Jesus, was in the transformation of Ignatius of Loyola from a Spanish soldier of nobility to the spiritual founder of the Jesuits.”96

“From the very first pilgrimage stop at the hospital where Ignatius was treated for his war wounds, we were amazed to hear and see displays that told the story of his vision of Mary while he was hospitalized.”97 98 Our interest here is point number 6 which states the “Strong influence of Mary at Manresa while Ignatius meditates and writes the Spiritual Exercises in the cave.”

There is an altar relief in Manresa Cave of Mary's influence on Ignatius while writing his Spiritual Exercises.

From these teachers’ report (along with pictures) I learned the following:

  • Marian influence on Loyola’s early life at or near the Loyola estate.
  • Particular impact of his sister-in-law's (Magdalena Araoz's) painting of Mary hanging in the family castle.
  • Premier vigil of conversion before an image of Mary in Aranzazu where Ignatius pledges to live his life like Jesus.
  • After a three day vigil, Loyola lays down his sword and dagger in front of the Black Madonna at Montserrat, to take up the life dedicated to Mary. He surrendered his sword and dagger for a pilgrim's staff and beggar's clothing.
  • Strong influence of Mary at Manresa while Ignatius meditates and writes the Spiritual Exercises during lengthy meditations in a cave in which he lived for nearly a year. There is on the altar an Altar Relief in Manresa Cave of Mary's Influence on Ignatius while writing his Spiritual Exercises.
  • Ignatius vision of Mary in the hospital of the Magdalena at Azpeitia. He takes vows with companions in front of the Mary statue at St. Paul's Outside the Walls Basilica in Rome.

“Ignatius … prayed to Mary without ceasing to place him at the side of Jesus, her son. Investigating this kind of devotion in the life of Ignatius, we discovered numerous instances of Ignatius entreating Mary to intercede with God or Jesus to enhance his relationship with the deity.”99

What the two above mentioned Protestant woman learned from their Ignatian pilgrimage was “Ignatius devotion to Mary and her extraordinary influence upon his life were unknown to us prior to the pilgrimage trip, either as Jesuit university faculty or as Protestant feminist scholars.”100

“Ignatius [was] an ascetic. In the cave of Montserrat he gives himself up to fasting, to maceration, to penitence, like those early hermits of Christianity, excited by faith, dispersed in the immensity of the desert. 101

The sixteenth century was the century of renovation, Jesuitism a sect of relapse. The sixteenth century founded the liberty of thought, Jesuitism founded intellectual slavery. The one tended to religious reform, the other to religious reaction; the one celebrated the emancipation of the conscience, the other adored the person of the Pope; the one heard the Divine voice, the Holy Spirit, in the idea of every man, the other saw God only in traditional and ecclesiastical authority; the one wrenched the conscience away from Rome, the other returned to Rome the absolute dominion over time and eternity. Never in human memory has there existed a religious association, regular and secular at once, equally at home in palaces and in deserts, lying in wait for the courtier, the minister, and the monarch, as well as for the savage lost in the pampas of America or the forests of Asia; never, I repeat, was there a religious association like this, founded upon absolute authority and obedience, which with such sovereign command exacted the subjugation of man and his living spirit, his indomitable liberty, his unconquerable inclinations, to the cold apathy of a corpse. It was the sect of authority. In view of these historical teachings, the harmonic school attributes all the principal reactions of our spirit to Jesuitism.102

The Jesuits are still active in the world today, though the military actions of those early years may have been left behind, the goal of spreading the Catholic faith is still their primary objective and they continue to do so through missionary work and education. As for their beliefs, they hold to the historic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The practice of “Ignatian spirituality” follows the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola and forms the foundation of their daily lives. The goal of these practices is to conquer and regulate the inner personal life so as to be submissive supposedly to God, but in reality, to the pope and his cause.


  1. Retrieved 3/13/15. [return to text]
  2. Alan Hirsch, Leadership Journal, “FALL 2008: MISSIONS BAGGAGE CHECK”, retrieved 5/23/15. [return to text]
  3. Nyanglish, under link entitled “missional living,” Retrieved 3/13/15. [return to text]
  4. Mark Galli, Christianity Today, February 2008, Vol. 52, No. 2, p. 7. [return to text]
  5. Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical,  page 20. [return to text]
  6. Ibid., 26. [return to text]
  7. Ibid. [return to text]
  8. Ignatius Loyola wrote The Spiritual Exercises, a 200 page set of meditations, prayers, and various other mental exercises, from 1522 to 1524. The exercises of the book were designed to be carried out over a period of 28–30 days. This was the means to be used in order to convert whoever practices them. [return to text]
  9. For more information about Loyola, his Spiritual Exercises and other practices see the Appendix under the heading: “Loyola’s Conversion by, and to, Mary and The Spiritual Exercises.” [return to text]
  10. Campolo, 30. [return to text]
  11. See Appendix: “Loyola’s Conversion by, and to, Mary and The Spiritual Exercises.” [return to text]
  12. Campolo, 31. [return to text]
  13. Robert Webber, John Burke, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Karen M. Ward, and Mark Driscoll. Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives [of these Emergent authors]. (Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 2007) Appendix 2. [return to text]
  14. See: Ian Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, Lulu Enterprises, UK Ltd (2008), 83-96. [return to text]
  15. Richard J. Foster, Meditative Prayer, Intervarsity Press, 1983, pp. 24–25. [return to text]
  16. Raymond Studzinski Reading to Live: the Evolving Practice of Lectio divina (2010) pp. 26-35 (as quoted in Wikipedia under “Lectio Divina”). [return to text]
  17. Gohl, J. M. (2012, 2013, 2014). Origen. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. [return to text]
  18. Trigg, J. W. (1992). Origen (Person). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 5, p. 43). [return to text]
  19. LeRoy Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1 (1966) p. 998. [return to text]
  20. Vatican Website: BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, St Peter's Square, Wednesday, 2 May 2007. [return to text]
  21. Ibid. [return to text]
  22. Ibid. [return to text]
  23. Vatican Website. Retrieved 3/25/15. “Address of his holiness Benedict XVI to the Participants in the International Congress organized to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation ‘Dei Verbum.’ ” Friday, 16 September 2005. [return to text]
  24. Ellen White, The Great Controversy (1888, 1911) p. 581. [return to text]
  25. The yogic life force that is believed to lie coiled at the base of the spine until it is aroused and sent to the head to trigger enlightenment. [return to text]
  26. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic (1991), p. 235. [return to text]
  27. Ibid., p. 11). [return to text]
  28. Ibid. (Vorgrimler,1986, 100). [return to text]
  29. Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology [return to text]
  30., retrieved 3/10/15. [return to text]
  31. Not only was there Jesuit influence at Vatican II, they were specifically sent to Trent to defeat the biblical doctrine of justification by faith. See Appendix: “Jesuit influence at the Council of Trent and on the Protestant Reformation. [return to text]
  32. Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of The Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, WESLEYAN COMMUNITIES AND THE WORLD BEYOND CHRISTIANITY, 12 to 19 August 2013, Working Group 4, “Practical Theology, Worship, and Spirituality” The Spiritual Vision and Mission of E. Stanley Jones, Evangelist, p. 3. [return to text]
  33. E. Stanley Jones, A Song of Ascents: A Spiritual Autobiography, Abingdon Press (1968), p. 13. [return to text]
  34. In a footnote the above writer, Rev. Tom Albin, stated that “Hannah Whitehall Smith is a Quaker writer.” However, it does not seem that she was a Quaker at this time (the book was written in 1875) as her family left Quakerism in 1858. [return to text]
  35. Abin, Op Cit, p. 3. [return to text]
  36. Gary Amirault, Accessed 3/3/15 [return to text]
  37. Ibid. [return to text]
  38. Ibid. [return to text]
  39. Mark Galli (09/17/08). "A Life Formed in the Spirit." Christianity Today. Archived from the original on 10-24/12. Retrieved 2/15/15. [return to text]
  40. Ibid. [return to text]
  41. Ibid. [return to text]
  42. Mark Galli, "Lost Secrets of the Ancient Church," Christianity Today, February 2008, 28. [return to text]
  43. Quaker Faith and Practice §19.02. Cambridge University Press. [return to text]
  44. From a transcript from a video I watched entitled “How Quakerism Began” on [return to text]
  45. John Nickalls, (editor). 1952. The Journal of George Fox. Cambridge University Press, pp.145, 159. [return to text]
  46.; retrieved 2/15/15. [return to text]
  47. Alena Hall, “The Huffington Post”, Posted: 06/18/2014; retrieved 2/15/15 [return to text]
  48. The Quakers. (1986). Christian History Magazine-Issue 11: John Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress. [return to text]
  49. Batson, E. B. (1992). Bunyan, John. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian History (p. 118). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. [return to text]
  50. The Quakers. (1986). Christian History Magazine-Issue 11: John Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress. [return to text]
  51. Ibid. [return to text]
  52. Ibid. [return to text]
  53. Ibid. [return to text]
  54. Bunyan, J. (2006). A Defence of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ, Vol. 2, p. 332. [return to text]
  55. Bunyan, J. (1995). Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners p. 64. [return to text]
  56. The Quakers. (1986). Christian History Magazine-Issue 11: John Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress. [return to text]
  57. Bradley Roy Williams, “Robert J. Wieland Before 1888 Re-examined, and Some of His Effect on Adventists,” A Report Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course CHIS 574, Development of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, Andrews University, Autumn 1978), Appendix K, pp. 9, 10. [return to text]
  58. Spicer, W. A., Editorial, “The Spreading Cloud of Mysticism,” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 6, 1950. [return to text]
  59. Ibid. [return to text]
  60. Williams, Op Cit. [return to text]
  61. E. Stanley Jones, The Message of Sat Tal Ashram, p. 285. [return to text]
  62. Spicer, W. A., “Stand Fast in the Faith,” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, November 9, 1950. [return to text]
  63. Jones, Op Cit, p. 291. [return to text]
  64. Ibid. p. 298. [return to text]
  65. Spicer, Op Cit. [return to text]
  66. Charles Scriven, “Jesus … Full Stop … All … Full Stop,” Spectrum, Feb. 2014; [return to text]
  67. Marcos Torres and Nathaniel Tan, “The One Project: Danger or Blessings?” Spectrum Blog, Aug 25, 2014; [return to text]
  68. Ellen White, Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. [return to text]
  69. Theology News & Notes, Fall 2008—Vol. 55, No. 3 [return to text]
  70. Ellen White, “An Earnest Appeal” Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library Vol. 1 (Letter Oct. 15, 1880) p. 73; also in Selected Messages, Vol. 2, pp. 162-163. [return to text]
  71. Ibid., p. 75; also 2SM 166-167. [return to text]
  72. Ellen White, Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5 p. 136 (1882): “To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” [return to text]
  73. White, “Review and Herald,” April 1, 1890: “Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel's message in verity.’” [return to text]
  74. Martin Luther, The Early Years: “Christian History,” Issue 34, 1997. [return to text]
  75. Heiko Augustinus, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, p. 55. [return to text]
  76. Merle D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, b. 9, ch. 8. [return to text]
  77. See Appendix: “The Use of Theatrical Entertainment to Convert Protestants.” [return to text]
  78. Merle D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, b. 13, ch. 6. Quoted in the Great Controversy, 197. [return to text]
  79. Ellen White, Great Controversy, p. 625. [return to text]
  80. The Latin is: “Perinde ac si cadaver essent, quod quoquoversus ferri, et quacunque ratione tractare se sinit: vel similiter atque senis baculus, qui obicumque et quacumque in re velit eo uti, qui cum manu tenet, ei inservit.” [return to text]
  81. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, trans. Louis J. Puhl, S.J. (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1951), 160. [return to text]
  82. Emilio Castelar, “The Republican Movement in Europe,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, October, 1873, p. 919. (p. 934 in my PDF copy) [return to text]
  83. Jean Lacouture, Jesuits: A Multibiography (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1995), 76. [return to text]
  84. Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations, 2nd Edition, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd, Oxford, United Kingdom and Malden Mass (2011) chapter 14. [return to text]
  85. Stewart Rose, Ignatius Loyola and the Early Jesuits, Longmans, Green and Company (1870) (Google eBook) p. 483. (This rule is found also in the famous Ninth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, known as the “Scholars Edition” for its high intellections standards). [return to text]
  86. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. [return to text]
  87. Article: “James Lainez” The Catholic Encyclopedia. [return to text]
  88. Ibid. [return to text]
  89. Comtesse R. De Courson, Concerning Jesuits, London Catholic Tract Society (1902); (Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2008 with funding from Microsoft Corporation. Originally published in 1879 by Burns & Oates), my pdf copy of the ebook, p. 1. [return to text]
  90. A play produced by playwright Jesuit Jakob Bidermann. [return to text]
  91. Jan Bloemendal, Receptions and Impact: Early Modern Latin Drama, its Effect on the Audience and its Role in Forming Public Opinion. Downloaded from UvA-DARE, the institutional repository of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Retrieved 3/10/15. [return to text]
  92. Dennis Martin, Fifteenth Century Carthusian Reform: the World of Nicholas Kempf (1992) p. 262. [return to text]
  93. David Wellbery and Judith Ryan, editors, A New History of German Literature (This book is a compilation of essays written by over 150 specialists in different periods and aspects of German literature, each essay concentrating upon a particular work, or a particular moment in German literary history). Christorfer Wild’s essay cited is entitled “Jesuit Theater and the Blindness of Self-Knowledge.” (Harvard University Press Reference Library) 2005, pp. 270, 271. [return to text]
  94. Raphael Brown, Saints Who Saw Mary, TAN Books, an Imprint of Saint Benedict Press, LLC Charlotte, North Carolina (1994), p. 114. [return to text]
  95. Ibid., p. 105. [return to text]
  96.,-the-Hidden-Catalyst-Reflections-from-an-Ignatian-Pilgrimage-to-Spain-and-Rome.cfm. Accessed 11/21/14 [return to text]
  97. Ibid. [return to text]
  98. An article by two Protestant feminists, teachers at the Cincinnati Xavier Jesuit University, Margo J. Heydt and Sarah J. Melcher wrote the article entitled “Mary, the Hidden Catalyst: Reflections from an Ignatian Pilgrimage to Spain and Rome.” This article is included as a chapter in the book Jesuit and Feminist Education, published by Fordham University Press in 2012. [return to text]
  99. Ibid. [return to text]
  100. Ibid. [return to text]
  101. Emilio Castelar, “The Republican Movement in Europe,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, October, 1873, p. 919. (p. 934 in my PDF copy) [return to text]
  102. Ibid. [return to text]