Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. (Psalm 24:3-4, ESV)
This is an excerpt from the next article in my “Do You Know Where Your Mystic Teachings Comes From” series, this one will be concerning The Mystic Monk Thomas Merton. If you want to better understand why Merton’s theology does not begin to line up with the historic orthodox Christian faith you must start with the fact that he was a Trappist Monk within the long apostate religious system of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore when Merton is talking about God, sin, and salvation he is doing so at the more liberal end of the Church of Rome’s already corrupt theological system. Here I agree with Gary Gilley from his series Mysticism, as in my own research I also find no indication whatsoever that Merton ever became a Christian, and instead according to Wikpedia the Mystic Monk:
finally achieved the solitude he had long desired in a hermitage in 1965. During these years he had many battles with his abbot about not being allowed out of the monastery, balanced by his international reputation and voluminous correspondence with many well-known figures of the day.
A new abbot allowed him the freedom to undertake a tour of Asia at the end of 1968, during which he memorably met the Dalai Lama in India. He also made a visit to Polonnaruwa (in what was then Ceylon), where he had a religious experience while viewing enormous statues of the Buddha. There is speculation that Merton wished to remain in Asia as a hermit. However, he died in Bangkok on 10th December 1968, having touched a badly-grounded electric fan while stepping out of his bath (emphasis mine).
Interspiritual Mystic Idolatry
Christian research analyst Ray Yungen further informs us in his excellent book A Time for Departing that, just the same as Emergent Prophet Tony Campolo today, Merton had a special affection for the Sufis, which is the mystical segment of Islam. Yungen tells us:
In order to understand Merton’s connection to mystical occultism, we need first to understand a sect of the Muslim world–Sufis, who are the mystics of Islam. They chant the name of Allah as a mantra, go into meditative trances and experience God in everything. A prominent Catholic audiotape company promotes a series of cassettes Merton did on Sufism. It explains:
Merton loved and shared a deep spiritual kinship with the Sufis, the spiritual teachers and mystics of Islam. Here he shares their profound spirituality.
In a letter to a Sufi Master, Merton disclosed, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana.” What is fana? The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult defines it as “the act of merging with the Divine Oneness” (59, emphasis his)
Yungen then goes on to describe this dialogue which The Mystic Monk had with this Sufi Master in more detail. When the Muslim leader informed Merton that Islam “does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption” Yungen reports that:
Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas…in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution… But much more important in the sharing of the experience of divine light,… It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.
Merton himself underlined that point when he told a group of contemplative women:
I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism.
And he elaborated elsewhere:
Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk (59,60, emphasis Yungen’s)
New Evangelical Cross-less Christianity
“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, ‘ declares the Sovereign LORD” (Ezekiel 13:8).
Men and women, doesn’t the Church have enough backbone left at this late hour to begin to at least draw the line somewhere concerning what constitutes a true Christian witness? And do you still think that apostates within the Emergent Church, which is a spiritual cesspool of Gnostic mysticism, like Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster and his friend another Zen Roshi wannabe Guru Brian McLaren pose no real problem to the Body of Christ? These same pathetic words of compromise spoken by The Mystic Monk Thomas Merton are now coming out of the mouths of his Emergent disciples with their own twists on things taught by demons. Just as their mentor Merton many EC leaders also think the atonement “is of little value” and as I show in “Evangelicals” Attacking The Atonement they are busy attacking it themselves.
What is it going to take for spiritually obtuse evangelical leaders today like Chuck Swindoll to see there is simply no place in the true Christian faith for Merton/Foster/McLaren interspiritual dialogues in Gnostic mystical encounters? For proof we need only look at The Mystic Monk’s nauseatingly pathetic example itself, because by the time the Lord ended his days (see–1 Kings 22:20-22) Merton had for all intents and purposes become a Buddhist himself. And how utterly contemptible that he would bow down to, and then grovel at the feet of, a Sufi Master and deny Christ–the Master of all masters–Whom Merton claims he served. Merton’s acceptance of the false religion of Sufism as actually being from God is even evident in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (CGB) where Merton says that a vision by “the young Sufi mystic, Ibn al’ Arabi” had been “seen clearly through a divine gift” (208, emphasis mine).
This is hardly the testimony of a true born again minister sent by the Lord Jesus Christ. Is the evangelical leadership actually so afraid of, and/or deluded by, Satan’s servants that they really believe these men are trying to preach the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ in their “interfaith dialogues?” O please; if you believe that then you very surely need to have your spiritual heads examined. Read the mystic musings of these seducing spirits as I do and you will not be reading about the authority of Scripture or about pastors and teachers. No, instead you will see a flat out avoidance of God’s Word save for the Gospels, talk of “spiritual directors” and so-called “mystical” experiences. Mr. evangelical leader, today the Lord wishes me to inform you that you had best heed His warning in Revelation 2 – “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (v.5).
True Interfaith Dialogue From Scripture
In closing we quickly contrast the message concerning mankind’s state before a holy and just God from The Mystic Monk Thomas Merton with that of the inspired Apostle Paul, who was personally taught the Gospel of our God by the Risen Christ Himself (see–Galatians 1:11-12). One would have to imagine this would be a pretty good Source. Merton said, “it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of [men’s] hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach,…At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin” (CGB, pp.157,158). But Paul said – “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one’ “ (Romans 3:10-12).
And now let me show from the Bible the most likely result of a true interspiritual witness for our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We turn to Acts chapter 18 and again we use the example of the Apostle Paul:
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:4-6).
And this is most certainly not the kind of reaction we are seeing from the secular world regarding the witness of new evangelical darlings like Rick Warren or Richard Foster or Brian McLaren or Joel Osteen. Or for that matter, sadly even that of Billy Graham their spiritual father and friend of apostate Rome. In fact, it’s quite the opposite in the case of these Christian leaders. However, the Words of Jesus Christ of Nazareth–faithfully recorded by the Apostle John–the Lord these men say they serve, still ring true – “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
So we must ask: Why the broad acceptance in the public arena of this new evangelical message of Gnostic mysticism in the contemplative spirituality being spewed forth today from the Devil’s Ecumenical Church Of Deceit? You might not like the answer, but it’s the only answer. And it really is quite simple. God the Holy Spirit tells us through the words of that same faithful and inspired Apostle John:
they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:5-6, ESV).