“But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 11:21)

Living Spiritual Teachers, Spiritual Masters, Roshis, and Yogis

What you are about to read below is the definition of Contemplative/Centering Prayer, or what is in reality transcendental meditation lightly sprayed with Christian terminology, from a man universally known as an authority of this neo-pagan practice. As a matter of fact, in his own book called The Sacred Way, which teaches about what Living Spiritual Teacher and “Christian” Roshi Richard Foster refers to spiritual “practices and disciplines,” Emergent Church anti-theologian Tony Jones himself recommends a book called Open Mind, Open Heart (OMOH) by Thomas Keating. Jones informs us that Keating “writes a nice history of contemplative prayer in the first chapter and then goes on to teach the principles of Centering Prayer” (215). So you can see that for all intents and purposes these terms, contemplative and centering, are really interchangeable for the actual practice of this supposed “Christian” version of transcendental meditation.

On the back cover of OMOH itself we are told that Thomas Keating—another of these “Living Spiritual Teachers”—is “a Cistercian priest, (Trappist) monk and abbot.” Then we are further informed that this particular book has indeed been written “by an acknowledged modern spiritual master.” Men and women, here is another reason why I will often be a bit sarcastic when referring to these apostate practitioners of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism such as Thomas Keating. You need to realize that terms like “spiritual master” actually come straight out of the very Eastern religions that these men insist they are not influenced by. And further we should understand that all of this has exactly zero place in the priesthood of all believers of the true Christian faith.

So since we have access, not only to a Living Spiritual Teacher, but my O my also a “modern Spiritual Master,” then let’s just see what Contemplative/Centering Prayer is according Guru Thomas Keating. Why after all, St. Benedict’s Monastery, where at last check Keating resides, tells us that he is quite adept at teaching this form of “Christian” transcendental meditation (TM) because he “has presented the Centering Prayer method and its related mystical theology to gatherings of non-Christians, Protestants, and Roman Catholics worldwide.” Keating now tells us that Contemplative/Centering Prayer:

is a process of inner transformation, a conversation initiated by God and leading, if we consent, to divine union. One’s way of seeing reality changes in the process. A restructuring of consciousness takes place which empowers one to perceive, relate and respond with increasing sensitivity to the divine presence in, through, and beyond everything that exists (4, emphasis mine).

A Neo-Pagan Process Of Inner Transformation

We may praise the Lord here for what is perhaps the most succinct and clear statement of nearly everything that I personally have been trying to help you see here at Apprising Ministries about the Gnostic neo-pagan mysticism that these fools who are claiming to be wise Spiritual Masters and Spiritual Directors call contemplative spirituality aka the New Spirituality. All along I have been saying that this so-called “Christian” mysticism is really just watered down TM for the Christian, and this is precisely what Thomas Keating himself has just told you. And now you also know why Emergent Gurus like Richard Foster and his friend Spiritual Director Brian McLaren are forced to equivocate with words in order to cloud the real issues behind their theological agendas.

First you’ll notice above that Keating says Contemplative/Centering Prayer itself “is a process.” This tells us that we are going to have to “practice” it over some period of time before we will realize its deeper effects. This is the reason for the references by Roshi Foster, Tony Jones and others in the Emerging Church to these spiritual “disciplines” of so-called Spiritual Formation, which must be practiced, and/or be mastered, as it were. And thus begins our decent back into first century Gnosticism where only the truly initiated—the enlightened—can possess the alleged “secret” knowledge (Greek: gnosis) concerning things spiritual. Among other places the Lord refutes this idea in 1 John 2:20 — But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. This forever does away with the patently false idea that there is a special class of “super” Christians who are the only ones privy to some secret spiritual knowledge.

Next Keating speaks of “a process of inner transformation.” From the “Glossary of Terms” in the back of his book here is Keating’s own definition of:

Transformation (transforming union)—the stable conviction of the abiding presence of God rather than a particular experience or set of experiences; a restructuring of consciousness in which the divine reality is perceived to be present in oneself and all that is (147, emphasis his).

Now if you’re not careful you are going to end up wrestling with the serpent here so let me help you focus on the real issue. By definition transcendental meditation involves us in some kind of a “transcending”; or a going beyond perceived reality, which itself is in line with Gnosticism, in that the material world—the physical—is thought to be illusionary. And no matter how hard Keating, or any other Emergent Church leader, tries to verbally “tap-dance” this away, what he has just described is a form of transcendental meditation. But what these so-called “Christian” mystics will then try and do is to convince us the “inner transformation,” which is actually quite real, is somehow Christian because it supposedly has a different focus (or intent) than that of the meditation in Zen Buddhism or Hinduism.

However, the very clear and present spiritual danger for those who practice this type of mind altering mediation is that they simply have no way to actually verify whether they are indeed experiencing God; or rather as I contend, encountering demonic deception impersonating God. Regardless however, the point is that Keating himself, who is a recognized authority on Contemplative/Centering Prayer, is clearly telling us that a person’s “way of seeing reality changes in the process.” So if there are in fact “changes” in someone’s acuity, then this type of meditation has indeed caused them to “transcend” their prior perception of reality. And Centering Guru Keating has already explained to us that in contemplative spirituality there is a “restructuring of consciousness [which] takes place.”

Transcendental Meditation To Unite The Global Family

In any event our Spiritual Master himself is admitting here to an “inner transformation,” which by his own words is a “transcending” of reality, or what Keating further refers to as “changes in the process,” of perceiving our world within those who practice contemplative spirituality/mysticism. And this is precisely the same thing that will also eventually happen to all those who practice classic TM as well. Study this out for yourself and you will quickly see the Yogis will also talk about a “restructuring of consciousness [which] takes place,” and one which they personally believe would lead to world peace if more people practiced transcendental meditation. In fact, Keating’s late friend Spiritual Master M. Basil Pennington himself has written:

In the course of the years, sitting in silent prayer, beyond where words can interfere, men and women of many diverse traditions have come together. In that deeper place a oneness is experienced that gives assurance and heart to our feeble ecumenical efforts and interreligious dialogues. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has said that if one percent of the people would meditate we will have peace. Jesus spoke of the leaven that will leaven the whole (Finding Grace at the Center: The Beginning of Centering Prayer, 10,11, emphasis mine).

Emergent “evangelical prophet” Tony Campolo echoes the same idea in his book Speaking My Mind when he conjectures:

a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other. I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experience? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism? (149,150, emphasis mine)

Maybe now you are able to see why these Emergent deceivers with their Gnostic neo-pagan contemplative spirituality so want to do away with “modernism” (specifically rational thought) and instead to foist upon the unsuspecting a “postmodern” philosophy of mystery and questioning ala Zen Buddhist koans. For this is the only way one could possibly reconcile the contradictions about who God is in the Qur’an as opposed to the Bible. By the way, for those who don’t know, a “koan” is a question that doesn’t necessarily have a logical answer, e.g. “In clapping both hands a sound is heard; what is the sound of one hand?” (Online source) And let us not forget that God also warns us in Colossians, which itself deals with the Gnostic invasion of the ancient Church — See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (2:8, ESV).

Sometimes you will see me refer to Brian McLaren as another Roshi wannabe. A “roshi” is the term for a Zen “Master.” Again from years of study into the Emerging Church, and mystic spirituality which is the crucial element at its corrupted core, it is my conviction that many of these Living Spiritual Teachers and Spiritual Directors (try finding those terms in Scripture) in the Emergent Church would really rather be Roshis and Yogis themselves. Unhappy it seems with the historic orthodox Christian faith, and with being pastor-teachers, which both Richard Foster and McLaren have been, instead to suit their own desires, they [have] gather[ed] around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They [have] turn[ed] their ears away from the truth and [now] turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

And a major myth is that the Christian needs to adopt pagan practices of Eastern religions to grow spiritually. As case in point consider the following from Mick Turner, “founder and pastor of LifeBrook Ministries” (Online source). In his piece “The Contributions of Richard Foster” while praising The Celebration of Discipline by the Guru of Contemplation Turner tells us:

I number myself among those impacted by Foster’s book. During my college years I moved away from my Methodist upbringing, initially pursuing the intense study of world religions. I was especially enamored with Buddhism in general and Zen in particular. Immersing myself in Zen practice and study, I gave little thought to Christianity. I learned much from my Zen involvement and I think I can safely say that my study of Buddhism, as well as other traditions, actually helped me understand the faith of my upbringing at a much deeper level.

In the mid-70’s I experienced what was for me, an epiphany. I discovered the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages. I devoured the works of Julian of Norwich, Walter Hilton, Richard Rolle, and most of the Rhineland mystics. Of particular importance was the work of the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing. In reading and studying this classic of English mysticism, I discovered Zen in Christian clothing. (Online source, emphasis mine)

The Divine Spark Of Gnosticism Returns Again

Yet some will still wonder why I am continually covering Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism. And say for very good reason—your youth. As I have already showed you in Emergent Wolves Enter Your Sheep Pens Through Youth Groups popular Emerging Church pastor Dan Kimball admits that your youth is among their Emergent targets:

The staff at one church in rural Oklahoma…fully believed they needed to start making changes in the way they worshipped in order to be in line with the emerging culture and emerging generations… These staff members were afraid, however, to try anything too radical. After all, they served in a very conservative Baptist church…

they started by slowly adding a few things to their youth meetings. They corporately read ancient creeds and prayers. The lit candles and had times of silent prayer. They allowed the youth to paint during a worship time. They practiced lectio divina or “sacred reading,” the ancient practice of prayerful meditation on Scripture. Not all at once, but little by little they added these elements of worship to their existing meetings…(emphasis mine)

Men and women, it is truly is exactly as Gary Gilley points out in his excellent online series Mysticism:

If the mystical practices that we have been describing were contained in some little corner of the Christian subculture we have spent far too much time addressing them. But unfortunately what was once in a corner has moved mainstream. More and more organizations, colleges, seminaries and authors are proclaiming the superiority of mystical Christianity. And the focus of all this attention seems to be directed toward the young. For example, in the late 1990s Youth Specialties, the highly influential youth ministry organization, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary teamed up to do a three-year test project to develop an approach to youth ministry which incorporates contemplative practices.

The project was funded by the Lilly Endowment Fund. Mike Yaconelli, co-founder of Youth Specialties, grew interested in contemplative prayer during a spiritually dry time of his life after reading a book by Henri Nouwen on the subject. Yaconelli and Youth Specialties have now incorporated contemplative prayer and mysticism in their annual pastor’s conferences and national youth conventions that reach over 100,000 youth workers each year. Each conference now offers courses on how to develop a contemplative youth ministry, pray the Lectio Divina (an ancient four-step form of contemplative prayer) and walk the prayer labyrinths. Christianity Today’s sister publication Christian Parenting recently published an article (Fall 2004) promoting the Lectio Divina for young people. (Online source)

And finally with the above in mind we look quickly at another example of the Gnosticism inherent in this so-called “Christian” mysticism currently metastasizing throughout The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit (ECoD) of postevangelcalism and postliberalism as a spiritual cancer. In OMOH Roshi Keating has told us that through Contemplative/Centering Prayer the “inner transformation” will lead us “to divine union,” which itself is the language of classic mystic spirituality. Then he explains this “restructuring of consciousness” enables a person to “respond with increasing sensitivity to the divine presence in, through, and beyond everything that exists.” And now we find ourselves right back in line with the first century Gnosticism that taught about “a divine spark” within every human being. For more on this particular doctrine of demons I refer the interested reader to my article The Emergent “ONE” and Understanding The New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind.

In closing this for now, what I want to highlight here is Guru Keating’s statement “the divine presence”; this is thought to be God himself, “in, though, and beyond everything that exists.” This is pure panentheism; pan—all, en—in, theos—God, and, this is in and of itself a particularly heinous teaching. This is because—as I have stated elsewhere: If God is “in, through, and beyond everything that exists,” then God already indwells mankind, which now eradicates any need for regeneration—the new birth. And as if this isn’t horrible enough; again, if God’s “divine presence” is truly “in everything that exists,” then—because Satan himself exists—now even the Devil himself would also share in the divine nature. Which would then end up being the fulfillment of his brazen boast in Isaiah 14:14 — “I will make myself like the Most High.”

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