Wednesday, 1 February 2017

ROY GODWIN AND FFALD-Y-BRENIN RETREAT CENTRE - A "THIN PLACE" WHERE CHRISTIANITY AND CELTIC MYSTICISM MEET!

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
(Colossians 2:8)




A "THIN PLACE"

In the remote west of Wales is a Christian retreat centre called Ffald-y-Brenin, which translates from the Welsh as The Sheepfold of the King. The "mother house" of Local Houses of Prayer, it is held in extremely high regard by many people internationally as a place of prayer and healing (though strangely enough for a location apparently favoured by God as a place of healing, its own website advises that it is unsuitable for the disabled to visit!)

Roy Godwin, its Executive Director, holds it to be "a thin place, where heaven and earth seem to overlap." (Ref. http://www.roygodwin.org/portfolio/ffald-y-brenin/ ). Mr. Godwin's personal perception of Ffald-y-Brenin as a "thin place" should in itself be a rather large red flag for any discerning Christian who holds to uncompromising Biblical truth, as so-called "thin places" are nowhere to be found in the Word of God, actually being a completely pagan concept, a product of pre-Christian Celtic mythology and occult mysticism. Or, as we might pointedly observe with reference to the Scripture above, a "vain deceit, after the tradition of men... and not after Christ."

Roy Godwin's disturbing departure from orthodoxy and entry into the realm of the mystical is intrinsically connected to his great enthusiasm for Celtic Christianity, which it is critically important to observe was simply a branch and expression of Roman Catholicism, with all its attendant elements of paganism in what has always been a deeply syncretic belief structure. Such a concoction was born of political expediency on the part of the Roman Empire, cleverly melding together its diverse cultural religiosity and thereby assisting immeasurably in maintaining the 'Pax Romana' or 'Roman Peace.'

That Roy Godwin has no real understanding of the true nature of the cult of Roman Catholicism and the deadly deceptive spirit that drives it, is evidenced in a very revealing interview he gave with 'Good News,' which is the magazine of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the UK:


"Although Roy says that he was brought up in a protestant context with a mistrust of Catholics, through his own personal journey, he has come to appreciate the riches of Catholic spirituality."

"This is why we need each other. None of us are it. We bring different gifts and the only way we become the Church of God is to share our spiritual riches." 
- Roy Godwin

Er, no Roy... actually, the only way we become the Church of God is by studiously resisting syncretic fusions and being totally uncompromising on the Faith whose foundation was Rock-solidly laid by the Author and Finisher of our Faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and does not descend at the behest of a Catholic priest (blasphemously called Father) at each and every Eucharist. Let's say it as it is. There are NO riches in Catholic spirituality, only abominations like the Mass, the RC doctrine of transubstantiation incontestably holding that the wafer and wine become the actual flesh and blood of Christ, then to be consumed in the pagan rite of god-eating! Truly NO Christian riches in Catholic spirituality, Roy, only heathen abominations...



A FALSE FAITH ON THE SHELVES

The 'Good News' article reveals Godwin's extremely worrying predilection for, and promotion of, the works of Henri Nouwen:


"Henri Nouwen whose books are in the Ffald-y-Brenin bookshop, in particular is a great favourite. He comments, "He could be writing just for me."

Henri Nouwen was a Catholic priest, a mystic, panentheist and Universalist whose thinking was formulated by the profound influence of Eastern religious traditions, which led to his great belief in contemplative prayer, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity and everything to do with Hindu/Buddhist meditation. And such meditation is a deeply occult practice, designed to enable one to enter an altered state of consciousness ("the silence") and commune with the "god" that supposedly dwells within us all. 


"The quiet repetition of a single word {i.e. using a mantra} can help us to descend with the mind into the heart {i.e. enter "the silence"}... This way of simple prayer... opens us to God's active presence."
- Henri Nouwen, in 'The Way of the Heart'


Consider if you will these shocking Word-denying and God-defying Nouwen quotes:

"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."
- Henri Nouwen, in 'Sabbatical Journey'

"The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being."
- Henri Nouwen, in 'Here and Now'

"Prayer is soul work because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one... 
It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is."
- Henri Nouwen, in 'Bread for the Journey'

The unity of all that is. God is in all, and all is in God. Panentheism. Which makes God one with Satan, and Satan one with God. Blasphemy. And Roy Godwin says that an extreme heretic like this could be writing just for him? The works of a man who denies that Jesus is the only way, averring that we can claim our own way to God in blatant contradiction of John 14:6, are not only lauded but sold at Ffald-y-Brenin? Is it not obvious that something is very seriously amiss here?

 Nouwen galore: a false faith on the shelves of the FYB bookshop

It's more than relevant to note that Nouwen's theology is inseparably intertwined with that of Thomas Merton, a much acclaimed fellow Roman Catholic mystic, who has been hugely influential in bringing Hindu/Buddhist style centering meditation (commonly referenced and sanitized as contemplative prayer) into mainstream evangelicalism. And yes, the Ffald-y-Brenin bookshop is also a purveyor of Merton's similarly deadly departures from the true Faith!



You'll note that on the shelf above and alongside Merton's 'Contemplative Prayer' are volumes on Celtic Christianity by Ian Bradley, including his 'Colonies of Heaven,' a description cited by Roy Godwin in his own book 'The Grace Outpouring' in reference to the liturgical spirituality of the Celtic community: "It was reflecting heaven. Heaven was touching earth. The dynamic of the kingdom was made present. A colony of heaven was being established. The liturgy was priming the pump." (p144-5). So is Ian Bradley an author to be read and trusted by a born-again believer? In answering this question I'll refer to two particular books penned by him.

The first is 'Grace, Order, Openness and Diversity: Reclaiming Liberal Theology' and I'll quote here from Amazon's summary:


"This title presents a powerful re-statement of Liberal Protestantism for the twenty first century, especially alive to the imperative of inter faith dialogue and understanding... Ian Bradley presents fundamentalism... as the great twentieth century heresy and aberration. He identifies and seeks to reclaim for the twenty first century a liberal theological tradition existing in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and the other major world faiths."

The second is 'God is Green: Ecology for Christians' and I'll again refer to Amazon's summary:


"In God is Green, Ian Bradley recovers the green heart of Christianity - a God who clothes wildflowers in splendor; reminds Job of his humble part in the cosmic drama; and sends a COSMIC CHRIST {my capitals} to ennoble and perfect all of creation... By plumbing the Bible, the writings of the early Christians and of the Celtic Christian Church, and the testimony of MYSTICS {my capitals} through the ages, Bradley shows that a sacred world is at the heart of Christian belief."

Reclaiming a liberal theology? The imperative of inter faith dialogue and understanding? Fundamentalism is the great 20th. century heresy and aberration? The testimony of mystics? A COSMIC CHRIST? Clearly, Bradley is about as sound as a plastic pound!

It is important to note that the Ffald-y-Brenin bookshop is also very well-stocked with the works of Bill and Beni Johnson, the Senior Pastors of Bethel "Church" in Redding, California. This has to be one of the unsafest "Christian" couples on the planet, their "Christianity" having all the authenticity of a paste diamond, with Bethel having far more in common with sorcery and New Age mystical spirituality than with Biblical Christianity. From gold dust to glory clouds, from falling feathers to fire tunnels, from floating orbs to a born-again "Jesus," from waking up sleeping angels to grave-sucking necromancy, absolutely anything goes at Bethel under the Johnsons' (mis)leadership. But hey, why worry about little details like that when their books have such glossy covers and look so pretty on the shelves...

"... another Jesus... another spirit... another gospel..." (2 Cor. 11:4)

 A group of students from Bill Johnson's Bethel School of the Supernatural engage 
in sucking up Evan Roberts' anointing from his grave at Loughor in South Wales...

And here's Beni Johnson herself, soaking up the anointing 
off C.S. Lewis's bones by lying on his grave in Oxford. 
She also uses a 528HZ tuning fork for prophetic purposes...

The Ffald-y-Brenin bookshop can thus lamentably be seen to be recklessly disseminating to the unsuspecting an alternative form of faith that is assuredly NOT the true Faith, but instead a deeply fallacious mystical New Age delusion, a cunning counterfeit of Biblical Christianity inspired not by the Holy Spirit but by a subtle and seducing utterly unclean spirit, working stealthily out of the war-camp of the Enemy!


DANCING IN THE MUDDY PUDDLES OF "THE LATTER RAIN"


"The Seven Mountains Mandate" of the NAR
  
It's also unfortunately rather relevant to record here that Bill Johnson is widely lauded as an Apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation, C. Peter Wagner's hot-bed of dire Dominionist deception which claims to have a mandate to take over all aspects of human society everywhere, and establish the Kingdom on earth BEFORE the return of Jesus Christ. It is a worldview in which human endeavour has the victory, and the Lord is relegated to being a mere passive bystander who will not - indeed some say cannot! - come back until His Kingdom is set up for Him! It presents an eschatology which can only be properly described as a doctrine of demons, and yet Roy Godwin has no qualms at all about associating himself with such "Latter Rain" deviancy. He has very close connections with the re-opened Bible College of Wales in Swansea (where he has taught) and their Far Eastern overlords, the Cornerstone Community Church of Singapore (where he has preached), whose Senior Pastor is Yang Tuck Yoong, a man with huge hyper-Charismatic and Dominionist sympathies. He is the organizer of Cornerstone's annual 'Kingdom Invasion' jamboree, which plays host to some of the biggest names in the skewed world of Charismania and the New Apostolic Reformation. This year's 'Kingdom Invasion' in mid-March will be no exception, with the inevitable Bill Johnson headlining alongside Heidi Baker, Lou Engle, Ed Silvoso and Shawn Bolz, who are all some of the most luminous stars in the NAR galaxy. We should also well note that it was Lou Engle and fellow NAR frontman Dutch Sheets who led the celebrations of the re-opening of the Swansea Bible College. 



"A NEW MONASTICISM" AND "HOUSES OF PRAYER"

At the core of Ffald-y-Brenin-style spirituality is "a new monasticism." Formerly known as The Caleb Community, but now re-branded as The Caleb Connection, I'll let them describe it in their own words, as found in the picture below:


OK. If they were really rooted in the Scriptures as they claim, there's no way that they would "dig the wells of the Desert Fathers (and mothers), Celtic Christianity and centuries of Monastic spiritual heritage!" Monasticism, with its attendant "daily rhythm of communal prayer" as adopted by Ffald-y-Brenin, is quite simply a completely unScriptural invention of Roman Catholicism, and Celtic Christianity as we've already observed was just a branch and expression of Catholicism. As for the Desert Fathers, they were RC mystic contemplatives who were the bridgehead for the arrival of Hindu/Buddhist pagan practices in the "Church," utterly unChristian practices which have since flourished in our own times like Japanese knotweed under the likes of Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Keating, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Leonard Sweet, Tony Campolo and others; the so-called Emerging Church is thoroughly infested with such practices, as is the NAR's Mike Bickle's International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Be very careful, my friends, when it comes to 'Houses of Prayer,' for just how prayer is perceived, practiced and promoted in such an establishment could well prove in reality to be way off beam - and quite wildly so! 

It really is food for thought that the Bible references a "house of prayer" only in the context of the Temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46), a structure which has not existed since 70 A.D. In fact, we would do well to consider that since under the New Covenant it is the born-again believer who is now the temple, the abode of God in the Third Person (1 Corinthians 6:19), then it is actually our own bodies which are a "house of prayer" unto the Lord, and not any external location. 


ROY GODWIN'S TEACHING ON PRAYER AND "RELEASING GOD'S BLESSING"

Quite apart from noting the great impact that contemplatives with their altered consciousness inducing methods of "prayer" have had on him, Roy Godwin's perception of and teaching on prayer as recorded in the Spring 2015 magazine of Anglican Renewal Ministries (Wales) raises further very concerning questions about his approach to this vitally important facet of Christian life:


"As a follower of Jesus you are given the enormous and challenging responsibility of SEIZING HOLD OF HEAVEN, SPEAKING WORDS AND NOT LETTING GO UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED ON EARTH ACCORDING TO YOUR REQUESTS." {my capitals for emphasis}

"One of the prime purposes of prayer is that we might receive what we ask for."

 Here Roy comments on 'The Lord's Prayer' as taught by Jesus:


"In this teaching lie the fundamentals about Christian prayer. We are taught to bring ourselves into agreement with heaven's purposes which are eminently practical. WE ARE TO INVOKE THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM SO THAT THE RULE OF GOD MAY HOLD SWAY OVER THE LIFE AND LOCALITY OF WHEREVER WE ARE, LIBERATING OUR NEIGHBOURS AND NEIGHBOURHOOD TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT IT LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN. AND WE ARE NOT TO STOP ASKING UNTIL WE RECEIVE." {my capitals for emphasis}
(Source: http://www.anglicanrenewalministries-wales.org.uk/Magazines/Spring%202015.pdf )

Is he right? Well... actually... NO! We are not in any sense to seize hold of heaven, never mind not let go until we've received according to our requests. This is not ASKING God, it is COMMANDING Him! Is not a key aspect of the Lord's Prayer, THY will be done? Fact is, He knows infinitely better than ourselves which petitions to assent to and which to refuse. And if the latter applies, absolutely no amount of nagging God will change His mind. He is Sovereign. In point of fact, Jesus Himself taught in no uncertain terms AGAINST doing such a thing, calling such unremitting behaviour a PAGAN practice and expectation:

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
(Matthew 6:7)



Wasn't even the Apostle Paul's petition for the removal of his "thorn" declined three times? Did Paul refuse to let go until He received that which he had requested? No! The "thorn" was for a purpose, and he humbly submitted to the will of His Lord, whose grace as Scripture testifies is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9). Are we to stand in contradiction of such sufficiency, demonstrating by our determined actions that we hold His grace to be INsufficient in our circumstances? 

Have we the ability to control God? Do we really have the power in prayer to "release God's blessing" over people and indeed the land also, a concept which has become such an essential constituent part of Ffald-y-Brenin's spiritual make-up?


"On Fridays blessings are prayed over the neighbourhood, the flocks and the herds, the teachers and pupils and marriages... For Roy this was a revelation and a totally new understanding of the calling of the Christian and this idea of the priesthood of believers, ministering to God first and then RELEASING GOD'S BLESSING ON OTHERS." {my capitals}

Is it not the Creator and He alone who decrees that the blessing of each day's sunrise is upon both the evil and the good, and that the blessing of the life-giving rainfall is upon the just and the unjust alike? (Matthew 5:45). It is the Almighty Himself who releases blessings - or withholds them as the case may be - and He has no need of our human input whatsoever to release anything at all! Yet Godwin insists:


"The Lord is raising an army of prayer warriors {a concept found nowhere in the Scriptures} who are becoming effective at releasing heaven on earth wherever they are." 

Do we really possess the power to release Heaven? The power to decide for God, and direct His resources? To overrule His Sovereignty, and bend His will to ours? Is it He who is to submit to us, or is it we who are to submit to Him? He will bless, or indeed He will curse, as pleases His holy purposes, and any presumptions on our part about such things are just that. Presumptions. Born of a subjective human rationale. As He has unanswerably declared:


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

Such teaching on prayer has much more to do with "Kingdom Now" eschatological handstands and "Word of Faith" theological somersaults, than with how we are truly meant to approach God in prayer. "To invoke the coming of the Kingdom so that the rule of God may hold sway over the life and locality of wherever we are, liberating our neighbours and neighbourhood to such an extent that it looks like heaven" is neither within our brief nor within our reach as believers in this present age. Any idea of our here-and-now neighbourhoods looking remotely like heaven prior to Christ's establishment of His millennial reign on earth is quite simply Dominionist delusion. And our neighbours are only in any real sense liberated quite individually, by their personal sincere repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour; no amount of "invoking the coming of the Kingdom" will achieve such an end, only the honest and humble, faithful preaching of a pure, totally uncompromised Gospel which brings the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Our real brief? Within our reach? The presentation of Christ come, crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended, sitting at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us, and coming again soon to put all things under His glorious feet! We the Church are not about bringing heaven to earth as Bill Johnson boasts, but rather Hell-bound sinners to the foot of the Cross. And this is the Cross of Calvary, the only one that matters... not the alternative High Cross at Ffald-y-Brenin...

Am I questioning whether miraculous healings have occurred at Ffald-y-Brenin? No, I am not. I fully believe that God can and does heal, when it is His will to do so. But the idea of Ffald-y-Brenin being a special "thin place" as claimed by its Executive Director, where Heaven and Earth are in some way closer together, is not just error, but dangerous deception. God is omnipresent, and everywhere on this planet is exactly the same distance from the One who created it. No matter where you are, He is always as close (or indeed as far away) as an individual chooses to place Him. It is extremely important to recognize that God can and does work in any set of circumstances in any geographical location. His grace is so infinitely great that He will work out His purposes no matter what. And so, often despite what we might consider to be how a particular person, or place, is particularly "right" with God, when in reality things are demonstrably wrong and Scripturally unsupported, His grace can still be seen to prevail. DESPITE, and NOT BECAUSE OF that person or place! This is something I feel I can't emphasize strongly enough!

Am I questioning the sincerity of Roy Godwin? No, I am not. The point is that you can be sincerely wrong, all the while sincerely believing that you are right. And sincerity in error is infinitely more powerful than insincerity when it comes to transmitting such error to others, who all too frequently neglect to do as Scripture urges and test the spirits (1 John 4:1). We urgently need to be good Bereans, for the Word of God is the proof or otherwise of all things, and we would do well to remember that even Satan can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and is the master of subtle spiritual seduction. (Genesis 3:1)


CONVERGENCE: THE GREAT RIVER OF ECUMENICAL COMPROMISE

We dine at the same table... Pope Francis, Palmer and Copeland

As is so often the case, error begets error and deception spawns deception. I don't know if Roy Godwin ever met the late, similarly Celtic Christianity-loving Tony Palmer, who was a Bishop in the CEEC (Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches) and a personal friend of Pope Francis, and who was instrumental in creating a close bond between the Vatican and evangelical renegades like Kenneth Copeland and the Arnotts of Toronto Blessing infamy. But if there is one word which would best describe the theology of them both, that word would be 'convergent.' Without wishing to digress too much, 'convergent' would also describe David Carr of Renewal in Solihull and the Order of St. Leonard, the subject of last month's article and earlier pieces, a man who has also long drawn water from the lead-lined well of Celtic Christianity. Convergence is the meeting and mingling of all the various streams of everything that calls itself Christian into one great river of ecumenical compromise, a most unholy uniting of purity and poison. Such men as these quaff deeply from any flow that looks good to them, and lead others to likewise drink from it, with a cavalier unconcern for where its source might lie or what sea may be its destination. It is folly indeed to pay no heed to the Word of God's urgent and timeless warning:


"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
(Proverbs 16:25)


* * * * * * *

Some further reading:
'A Time of Departing' by Ray Yungen
'Faith Undone' by Roger Oakland
'The Light That Was Dark' by Warren Smith
http://watchman4wales.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/beware-of-contemplative-prayer-part-one.html
https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=20820 (on Bill Johnson and Bethel)