Mr Colson You Are Wrong!!!
Mr. Colson, You are Wrong!
Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, is wrong. Oh not about his efforts to help prisoners. His work and passion to improve conditions for prisoners and their families is commendable. Being a former Prison Fellowship volunteer, I know how valuable their work is. However, it is because of this work and the huge influence and following he has gained, that we are compelled to issue this post. Colson's April 4th Breakpoint Commentary is titled "Henri Nouwen and 'Journey of the Heart.'" In the commentary, Colson is drawing attention to the upcoming PBS Easter special on Nouwen called "Journey of the Heart: The Life of Henri Nouwen." Nouwen, who was a Catholic mystic, adhered to the teachings (and the mysticism) of Thomas Merton. Nouwen was enamored with mysticism (i.e., contemplative), and as with so many who partake of this type of eastern-style meditation, Nouwen developed interspiritual, panentheistic views. For Chuck Colson to promote Nouwen will surely have a spill over effect into his organization, and countless prisoners and their families could be influenced. Thus our warning. In a way, the Nouwen-promoting commentary by Colson is no surprise. Colson is a close ministry partner with Nouwen-promoter1 Rick Warren. Warren and Colson announced their new partnership agreement in 2005 during Warren's 25th anniversary celebration.2At the end of Nouwen's life, he reiterated his contemplative affinity by saying:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God."(From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen's last book page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition) This is very indicative of what happens when mysticism is embraced. Thomas Merton said something along the same lines:
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, ... now I realize what we all are .... If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are ...I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other ... At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth ... This little point ...is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody." 3It is most likely that Rick Warren got his interest in Nouwen from Robert Schuller, who said of Nouwen:
All of our students have to watch and listen to Henri Nouwen. I keep interrupting and stopping the video machine, telling them to notice how he uses his hands, to look at the twinkle in his eye, to see how he connects his eye with the eye of the listener, to be aware of the words he uses-all positives, no negatives.(p. 155, ATOD, taken from Wounded Prophet, p. 35)And Colson in turn may have gotten his interest from Warren.When Colson helped to author and birth the Evangelicals-Catholics Together document4 several years ago, Christian leaders should have spoken up and been alarmed. His partnering with contemplative/emerging/ecumenical Rick Warren should have caused further concern. Since neither of those incidents raised much concern at all among Christian leaders, Colson's promotion of Nouwen won't either. But for those who discern the times and care about truth, we thought you'd want to know. If you have family members or friends in incarceration, please warn them about the spiritual deception that is seeping into North American prisons through Purpose Driven and now Prison Fellowship. If you are a Prison Fellowship volunteer, we hope you will ask Colson to reconsider the direction he is heading. What every prisoner, and for that matter every human being, needs is not mystical spirituality. What they need is to hear the gospel and to receive Jesus Christ into their lives.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12To learn more about Henri Nouwen's spirituality, read our research and/or read A Time of Departing and Running Against the Wind. Special Note: Most prisons have very strict rules about books being sent to prisoners. Many of them only allow books from publishers. If you have a family member or close friend who is in a prison, and you would like them to receive one of our books that warns against contemplative spirituality, email us, and we will send him or her a complimentary book.