What some people are saying about CURSILLO: Little Courses in Catharsis:
"Dr. Janssen provides a thought-provoking critique of the Cursillo method, explaining the history, psychological techniques, and theological inconsistencies. A valuable tool for distinguishing the psychological from the spiritual, this book is a must-read for all Christian pastors, teachers, parents, and supporters of any Cursillo-related events (including TEC and YATEC)."
Dr. Natalie Sandbulte,
Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology
Sioux Center, Iowa
"This significant and useful book strips the veil from the Spanish Roman Catholic-originated Cursillo Movement and its many mainline Protestant imitators. Writing from extensive personal involvement in the movement and a deep familiarity with social-science research on psychological manipulation, Dr. Janssen demonstrates that Protestant revivalists have no monopoly on manipulative techniques. Along the way he challenges us to think theologically about the issues raised by the Cursillo methodology."
William B. Evans, Ph.D.
Younts Professor of Bible and Religion
Due West, South Carolina
“With a passion for the purity of the Gospel and the glory of God, Dr. Janssen fairly and thoroughly dissects another man-made technique that attempts to manipulate decisions and then declare it to be the work of the Holy Spirit. Not since The Invitation System by Iain Murray, have I been so challenged to make sure I'm being completely Scriptural and not using the wisdom of men's words lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect (I Corinthians 1:17).”
Pastor David Leary
Grape Creek Baptist Church
“Scripture is quite clear: personal and church conversion, revival, renewal, and reformation come through the proclaimed word in the power of the Holy Spirit. As both Gijsbert Voetius and John Paul II knew well: the gospel does not coerce, it persuades. This has not stopped merchants and technicians of renewal from trying to short-circuit the Holy Spirit and manipulate people. Cursillo, according to the author of this well-researched and thorough study, is such a questionable technique. He tells a cautionary tale but also—rightly! —calls the church to pay attention to its unpaid bills.”
Professor of Systematic Theology
Calvin Theological Seminary
Grand Rapids, Michigan
“They would utilize our campus up to four times a year. As a recently hired Youth Leader, I was repeatedly told by the pastor, ‘They are a Christian Renewal Group.’ And yet, I would witness the ‘advance team’ preparing for their weekend retreat: windows being blacked-out, small sleeping cubicles erected, Kleenex boxes everywhere, and a kitchen filled with snacks and sweets. As our congregation exited the Sunday morning service, these groups would emerge from the Youth Building, singing ‘campy songs’ to our congregation on their guitars. They seemed ‘renewed;’ but it also seemed awkward.
“This is why this book is extremely important! With thorough research and documentation Brian V. Janssen unveils the history, philosophy, theology, psychology, and the predictable ‘clinical’ results of the Cursillo weekend. Christian churches, or those invited to these weekends, MUST BE INFORMED about the techniques implemented by Cursillo, which sadly manufactures spiritual experiences that, ‘…have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power.’ – 2 Timothy 3:5
“Does a Cursillo weekend really have the ‘power’ of conversion? Those attending claim that they have changed! However, Cursillo: Little Courses in Catharsis also has the power to convince the church what the Scriptures teach: God’s grace is a gift received by simple means. To manufacture anything else apart from this cheapens the authentic renewal of God’s grace by His word and Spirit.”
Rev. Kent Moorlach
Communion Presbyterian Church (ARP)
“Brian Janssen has not only written a fine introduction to and faithfully Reformed critique of the Cursillo movement, but also—and more importantly—in doing so has issued a well-needed challenge for Christians to think about how we, together with our culture, value experience over truth and thus increasingly write off the means of grace that God has given us. We would do well to sit down with this book and read it so that we might rightly despair of human methods and instead put our confidence in the Word and sacraments that God has provided for our faith.”
Rev. Nicholas Davelaar
First Christian Reformed Church
“This is an important – and much needed – book. Dr. Janssen correctly analyzes the social psychological techniques used by Cursillo and other like-minded organizations that seek to promote their beliefs by manipulating their participants. The Gospel has always been about what God the Father has done through the sinless life of obedience and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for His people. No man-made techniques, however pragmatically ‘successful’, will ever replace the right preaching of God’s Word by those competently trained to understand and communicate it. Instead of training church members on how to get their friends and family to attend a Cursillo weekend, the church should be teaching and training its members to accurately understand the Holy Bible. Dr. Janssen has done a great service for the church of God.”
David A. Wilcox, Ph.D., M.Div., LMHC
Associate Professor for Graduate Counseling Psychology
Palm Beach Atlantic University
West Palm Beach, Florida
“Through careful and thorough scholarship, and interviews with leaders and former participants Janssen provides the first and only attempt I am aware of that effectively de-mystifies the secretive ‘Cursillo’ type spiritual retreat movement that has swept much of the evangelical Christian church in America. He rightly classifies the methods used as psychological manipulation which creates a cathartic experience often misinterpreted as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Janssen correctly and convincingly dismantles the underlying philosophical and theological assumptions of this movement and reveals the naked truth that the predictable emotional responses attained are most likely a mere human phenomenon.
“Although these types of retreats are not heretical per se, Janssen clearly demonstrates the semi-Pelagian nature of these ‘spiritual’ retreats which he argues is incompatible with the Reformed Biblical doctrine of Luther and Calvin.
“Janssen’s work is a loud wake-up call to the church and should be read by every pastor, elder, youth pastor and lay leader alike. Janssen’s challenge is for the church of Jesus Christ to move beyond psychologized religion and back to the Biblical means of true Christ-centered worship which through God’s Holy Spirit is the only source of real and lasting transformation.”
Dr. Daniel F.A Hitchcock
Associate Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology, Counseling, & Human Services
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
“I welcome this much needed exposé of a truly deceptive and harmful movement done in the name of Christ. I have witnessed first hand the damage done to individuals and congregations by Cursillo and TEC. Christ has ordained that His people be sanctified by His Word of truth (John 17:17) but Cursillo is able to transcend all denominational divisions and distinctives by jettisoning instruction in the Word and relying on secular, physiological techniques to produce an emotional high which is then said to be the work of the Spirit. The high cannot be maintained without continued dependence on manipulative methods. Reverend Janssen gives a well documented analysis of the psychological techniques and harmful effects of the Cursillo methodology. Church leaders need this book. All Christians should heed its warnings.”
Reverend Ralph A. Pontier, Pastor
Emmanuel Reformed Church
“Warning: The secrets and surprises of Cursillo are revealed in this book! However, when movements which claim to be ‘Christian’ in their emphasis need to use secrecy and emotion to bring their candidates to ‘catharsis’, then what place is left for the Word of God? Indeed, what place is there in such movements for followers of Jesus Christ?"
Rev. Mark Verbruggen, Pastor
First Christian Reformed Church
Sioux Center, Iowa
“I was trained as a stage hypnotist and stage illusionist before going into the ministry. Later I was trained as a clinical hypnotherapist. Between these two events I attended a Protestant version of Cursillo as a Protestant Chaplain. The event was a long, thinly veiled-over religious trance induction designed to solicit a desired response. Dr. Janssen demonstrates for the reader, on several levels, why this is directly opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a postmodern culture experience is the ‘thing.’ Dr. Janssen demonstrates why ‘decisions for Christ’ at these events do not last because they are not commensurate with the personality of the participant. The short term is hypnosis. We are shown how Cursillo imitates the Spirit of God and despite superficial ‘renewal or changes’ it is not the Spirit…but a spirit of this age that imitates God. Dr. Janssen shows us that Revivalists haven’t exited the hypnotic stage… they simply changed their names. This is a valuable resource for anyone who has endured a Cursillo or associated Protestant event, or thinking of attending one, and will proved a profitable resource to point you back to Christ.”
Dr. Christopher Faria, D.Min, Ph.D.
Senior Pastor Westminster Presbyterian Fellowship
Adjunct Faculty New Geneva Seminary
Colorado Springs, Colorado
To order Cursillo: Little Courses in Catharsis from the publisher, click on the book logo:
Now also available from: Dove Christian Bookstore 125 Central Avenue NE Orange City, Iowa