What’s mysticism doing at the Catalyst leadership conference?


Remember when Pastor Rick Warren posted a tutorial on Centering Prayer on his Pastor’s Toolbox website, encouraging thousands of pastors to teach their congregants to go into the silence? No? That’s probably because he yanked it down after biblically sound Christians sounded the alarm bells in his comments section. (Good thing there’s screen capture.)

Now thousands of young Christian leaders are getting a front-row seat to this mystical practice, at this year’s Catalyst Leadership Conference in Dallas.

As someone who has attended Catalyst conferences and who knows full well that young leaders are taught the social justice, business growth model “gospels” there, I can tell you that you will not find much in the way of biblical discipleship tutorials or the sharing of the Gospel, nor will you find much about repentance and holiness unless it’s whispered in the hall. I know that’s tough talk, but I still get the huge posters, mailings, thick brochures and web videos for every Catalyst event known to man. So it doesn’t surprise me in the least to learn that contemplative prayer from the mystical eastern religions have made their way into the curriculum at Catalyst. Sola Sisters has the story. Please do take note of the excellent links about what these contemplative prayer practices are, who is teaching them and how they have made their way into our mainstream, very visible churches:

Centering Prayer Taught By Mystic Phileena Heuertz at Catalyst Dallas

2014 by Christine Pack* and reprinted here with permission

Writer Jim Fletcher is reporting from the Catalyst Dallas conference that a Centering Prayer exercise was recently led by mystic and contemplative spiritualist Phileena Heuertz at Catalyst conference, which is a Christian conference that moves from city to city. The current Catalyst is being held April 30-May 2, 2014 in Dallas, TX. Heuertz, who is the author ofPilgrimage of the Soul, was listed as a “lab speaker,” which means that her session was probably a breakout session in which not all of the conference attendees were participants. Some of the other Catalyst Dallas speakers include Tullian Tchividjian, Dave Ramsey, Louie Giglio, Mark Batterson, Jen Hatmaker, Craig Groeschel, and Francis Chan.(HT: Jules LaPierre, Jim Fletcher)

Phileena Heuertz

Some background information on Phileena Heuertz: Heuertz and her husband teach contemplative mysticism at their website gravity, as well as other mystical/pagan practices:

On her Centering Prayer page, Heuertz talks about having been taught Centering Prayer by Roman Catholic mystic monk Thomas Keating himself, with whom the practice of mystical centering prayer originated. (Learn more about Thomas Keating here on a show by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith.) According to Heuertz’s bio on the Sojourners website, Heuertz is “a member of the New Friar movement,” teaches and writes on contemplative spirituality and facilitates contemplative retreats.

Additional Resources

One Response to What’s mysticism doing at the Catalyst leadership conference?

  1. Kal February 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Are pastors and believers so far from the word that they do not recognize these practices as being mystical? It is heart-breaking that people are drawn to well known speakers and believe their teachings, rather than God’s word.

    It is difficult to alert the pastor that doesn’t want to hear “negativity.” To alert the people from your own Church body to the dangers of these people and practices, without being called an extremist that doesn’t see God in it.

    It is important to even scrutinize those that make us aware of false teachings, to be sure they are on the right path and not just being a “heresy hunter” ready to kick and drag those through the dirt, rather than teach them their errors.

    Thank you for this alert to what is really being presented at these Catalyst Conventions. The one in Irvine, California 2016 is right in my backyard, but I will not attend because of the false teachers. Isn’t that sad?