Ronnie Floyd and Life Action Ministries – Mystics in Disguise

President of Southern Baptist Convention, Ronnie Floyd, has for some time been known to dabble with questionable theology. He endorses the First Fruits tithing heresy of Robert Morris and also endorses the contemplative mystic, Mark Batterson and his new age book, the Circle Maker. But another troubling partnership between Floyd and New Age mysticism exists—between him and Life Action Ministries.

Life Action claims to be a ministry that holds “revival” conferences at different churches. According to their schedule, it appears to be all Southern Baptist churches. From their web page, “Awaken your heart,” they say:

As a ministry, our desire is to see the hearts of God’s people awakened and revived! Incredibly, God wants us to experience revival even more than we desire it for ourselves. He has even given us a road map to follow. We pray that these resources will help you discover and travel the pathways that lead to God’s heart.

Now, who wouldn’t want to discover the “pathways” that lead to God’s heart. First and foremost, besides the entire new age theme of their website, the plural word “pathways” insinuates that there is more than one way to God. Do you see the problem here? Is there another pathway to God apart from Jesus Christ? They also teach a method of contemplative prayer, involving being quiet, waiting, sitting still, and listening for that “still quiet voice” of God to give you a specific revelation. They also teach that forgiving someone entails no longer desiring righteous justice or discipline against that person. Another workbook on their website, entitled Draw a Circle, is strikingly similar to Mark Batterson’s Circle Maker witchcraft heresy that Floyd endorses. Their promo video for this prayer teaching involves a young man, who has a piece of chalk that keeps “magically” appearing on his Bible. He ultimately ends up reading Hosea 10:12-13 and somehow he gets the idea from these verses that he should be drawing circles around himself, and praying. In this workbook, they say:

It’s a challenge OneCry is issuing to men, women, teens, and even children…It involves a simple piece of chalk. With this piece of chalk, we kneel to draw a circle around ourselves and then look to heaven expectantly, praying, “Lord God, send revival, and begin it right here in this circle!”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Radio Host of Revive Our Hearts women’s outreach ministry of Life Action, also endorses these chalk circles. She is known for associating with other contemplative mystics, including Richard Foster and Dallas Willard.

Ronnie Floyd has worked extensively with this ministry in the past. At the 2013 Annual SBC Conference, he partnered with them at a lunch meeting to discuss the subject of “spiritual revival.” He asked his audience on his blog before the meeting:

Tuesday at noon: Life Action Ministries has asked me to join three other spiritual leaders over a major lunch meeting to talk about the subject of Spiritual Revival. I look forward to this engaging luncheon as hundreds of Pastors will gather for discussion around this theme. Pray for a mighty visitation from God.

Notice, he didn’t say he was joining three other “Christian” leaders, he said “spiritual” leaders. Life Action Ministries’ theme appears to be this “spiritual” awakening, a new age, contemplative type of awakening, or a mystic type of relationship with God. They also endorse a type of theology, known as Keswick theology, in which they believe that there are two types of Christians, carnal and sanctified. They believe that the “carnal Christian” needs to be spiritually awakened, and work themselves into a sanctified state. This is remarkably similar to the new age thought of awakening your “inner-self” to a higher state of consciousness, and becoming “one with God.”

Ronnie Floyd’s way of thinking appears to be very similar to this group. He believes that churches are filled with lukewarm, complacent “Christians,” who are more interested in being promoted in the workplace than evangelizing the lost. While this is very true that our churches are filled with these types of people, the truth of the matter is that these people filling the pews aren’t Christians. Carnal Christianity is not Christianity, it’s false conversion. Generally speaking, people who have been influenced by Keswick theology may have a testimony like, “I was saved when I was 15, but I surrendered my life to Christ when I was 23.” They tend to believe that human free-will is ultimately and separately responsible for starting and stopping the sanctification process. In an interview with Randy Hekman of Life Action, Ronnie Floyd was asked:

You have put out a clarion call to Southern Baptist pastors and members around the nation for a Great Awakening. How are people responding to this call?

And he responded:

…there was real resolve and commitment and understanding that our greatest need is a mighty move of God in this country…We need to strategize and get after reaching the world. The reason we want revival to come to the church, and for the country to be awakened spiritually, is so we can complete the Great Commission…We need fresh power to do that. We need American Christianity to wake up from sleep and get with it to reach the world with the gospel…[we must be committed to] the revival of religion and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom on this earth.

There is no mention of purifying the church of false converts or bad theology, or exposing the evil within the church. As most new-agers, Floyd doesn’t believe this exists. What the Bible would describe as a false convert, it appears Floyd would just rationalize them as “less sanctified,” and that they would need to become “more sanctified” by making a decision to wake up spiritually.

OneCry, a branch of Life Action ministries regularly praises Floyd for his advancement of “Spiritual Awakening.” On January 19, they tweeted:

Every Christian, Pastor, & leader in all denominations should read this bold manifesto from SBC Pres. @ronniefloyd http://t.co/Lrr77WD6mZ
— OneCry (@OneCry) January 19, 2015

I believe that the SBC’s association with this group is spiritually dangerous, but it appears to be the direction that this once great denomination is now heading. This slide toward the New Age is nothing new. Ronnie Floyd has prophesied a “Great Awakening,” but the Bible predicts a “Great Apostasy.” Who are we supposed to stand behind? We should always be praying for the salvation of souls, but should we be praying for something unbiblical? Should we be praying for something to happen when what the Bible predicts will happen, and must happen for the return of Christ, is already happening? Shouldn’t we be praying for purification of the Church, salvation for the lost, and Christ’s return to be quickened? Instead, it seems that the SBC wants to delve deeper into contemplative prayer, witchcraft and ecumenism.

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve been reading a lot about contemplative prayer. It seems to me the issue is not so much with the “meditating” part. Life Action defines meditating as: “actively pondering and digesting an aspect of spiritual truth, such as a passage of Scripture or a character trait of God.” Obviously, this is good. Rather, its the next part they refer to as listening.

    “The next step involves listening. Listen for that still small voice of God; wait for specific orders concerning activities of the day.” Obviously, waiting for “specific orders of the day” is troublesome. I’m guessing this is the specific area of concern?

  2. Jeff Maples says:

    In Eastern religions, this “active digestion” or “pondering” is often a mantra, a word or phrase repeated over and over to aid focus and attention on something. The fear is, based on observations of other behaviors within these groups, their practiced forms of meditation are less than Biblical.