Crabb was invited to lead the 2012 Leadership Summit that was held at Moody Church on Saturday, March 10. Following this, he will be ushered into Erwin Lutzer's pulpit to preach the Sunday service on March 11.
Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, conference and seminar speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. In addition to various other speaking and teaching opportunities, Dr. Crabb offers a weekend conference throughout the country entitled Life on the Narrow Road and a week-long School of Spiritual Direction held in Colorado Springs, CO. He currently is Scholar in Residence at Colorado Christian University in Colorado and serves as Spiritual Director for the American Association of Christian Counselors. Dr. Crabb has authored many books including; Understanding People, The Marriage Builder, Finding God, Connecting, The Safest Place on Earth, The Pressure's Off, Shattered Dreams, and SoulTalk. His latest book, The PAPA Prayer, was released in February 2006. Dr. Crabb and his wife, Rachael, live in the Denver, Colorado area.
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois, 1970 (Minors: Speech Therapy and Philosophy of Science)
M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois, 1969
B.S. Psychology, Ursinus College, 1965
I call it the Passion/Wisdom Model of Spiritual Direction, and I see it as offering the opportunity for our interior worlds and supernatural reality to meet. This model offers a conceptual understanding of the private and often confusing world beneath the surface of our everyday lives and a rhythmic strategy for following the Spirit into the depths of people’s souls, including our own. That is where God’s Spirit is moving us into the Father’s presence and into the light of the Son so that we can (1) enjoy God, (2) accept ourselves, and (3) engage with others in the energy of Christ. (Online Source)What we read above is, at best, psycho-babble with a "Christianese" twist. At worst, it's mystical deception. As was mentioned above, Crabb has authored numerous books. The most recent of these, The PAPA Prayer, was briefly reviewed by Pastor Gary Gilley. Of this work, Gilley says,
Most importantly the ideas presented are not in any way drawn from Scripture. Crabb’s experience and imagination is the seed-bed of The PAPA Prayer. What little Scripture Crabb uses is taken out of context or distorted (e.g. pp. 29, 45-51, 111, 116, 119). Probably the most “creative” use of Scripture was tagging on a command by Jesus given to John based on Revelation 1:16-17, “Then the risen Christ placed His right hand on John and spoke. ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m alive and because I’m alive, you’re alive. Advance My kingdom until I return with great power to finish the job’” (p. 118). This last statement is simply not there (maybe Crabb should review Revelation 22:18-19).
The author also introduces his newer devotion to mysticism a number of times (pp. 123, 146, 149). As a matter of fact, in disguised form he promotes all three stages of classic mysticism: purgation, illumination and union (pp. 146-149). Centering and contemplative prayer is also recommended (pp. 9, 22). Even a little visualization in the form of dancing with God (pp. 19, 107, 163) is evident.
But the heart of the book, and its chief error, is the goal behind the PAPA prayer. The PAPA prayer is a means by which we hear the voice of God—not necessarily audibly, but at least inwardly, “Prayer is more about us hearing God than about His hearing us. We’re the audience” (p. 71). Crabb promises, “PAPA will speak to you [if you follow Crabb’s formula]. He loves a good conversation with His children” (pp. 143-144). This is the carrot that will draw people to the PAPA prayer and is the reoccurring theme throughout (pp. XIV-XVI; 8, 9, 12. 13, 19, 71, 80, 85, 124, 143, 165). But where in Scripture are we taught any such thing? Yes, there were rare occasions in the Word when God spoke to someone while he was praying, but nowhere are we told that this is either the norm or the purpose of prayer. Prayer in the Bible is us speaking to God; it is the Scriptures that speak to us.
Crabb does not find his PAPA prayer in the Bible. It is drawn from experience, mysticism and faulty theology. (Online Source)As Gilley notes, experience is what dominates Crabb's book. Indeed, experience is at the very heart of the vast majority of deceptions which today plague our churches. When the quest for a warm, welcoming experience is sought through such means as centering or contemplative prayer, then our ravenous enemy has a wide doorway through which to walk.
Larry Crabb has authored another book which ought to be of concern to the Christian. In his book, SoulTalk, Crabb explains that, while in the hospital awaiting surgery, he was privileged to discover a sort of secret language of the Holy Spirit, a language that Crabb calls "SoulTalk." He writes,
I believe God kept me alive so I could speak about it, so together we could start dancing with God. Then we'll learn SoulTalk, and we'll speak with power into people's lives, especially the people we love most. (Online Source)Dancing with God? Where is the Scripture that speaks to this? Where is the verse that speaks about "SoulTalk?" Check your Bible if you like, but you will not find these references.
Throughout this book, Crabb speaks about "catching the vision" of the Spirit. He speaks of looking into one's own soul, and then into the soul's of others so as to communicate "with power." Yet, is not God the only One who can see into the mind, heart and very soul of any man?
It is not the duty of men, not even redeemed men, to learn to speak some secret, even gnostic, language. It is not the job of redeemed men to search within themselves in their efforts to learn to communicate this imaginary, "supernatural" language. The duty of redeemed men, rather, is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins. The Bible does not speak of "SoulTalk," but it does talk of souls. And it tells us what will happen to those souls who die without Christ.
While we ought to be concerned that Erwin Lutzer has decided to welcome such a spiritual formation proponent as Larry Crabb into his pulpit, we ought not be surprised. After all, Lutzer himself has endorsed The PAPA Prayer.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)