This short piece from Apprising Ministries is to help you recognize that more and more people are becoming convinced through the dubious doctrines of spurious Spiritual Formation to see corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) and its Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP), which flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism as a viable way to approach God.
The most visible tentacle of this CSM within the American Christian Church would be The Cult of Guru Richard Foster. So with an able assist from ordained Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic “Roshi” Richard Foster, and e.g. the Emergent Church, are right now spreading these so-called “spiritual disciplines” and “practices” primarily culled from Roman Catholic and Quaker mystics throughout the Body of Christ.
But Dr. Gary Gilley now begins to put this flawed and highly subjective spiritual formation approach to God in context when he says in his book Is That You Lord?: Hearing The Voice Of The Lord:
Balance. Is there anything more elusive? … God’s people tend to swing from one extreme to the other with great regularity, causing considerable tension within the body of Christ. One such tension has been, and still is, between the academic and the experiential, between those who place great emphasis on the theological and those who place the bulk of their emphasis on the subjective…
The proper biblical balance is for theology to result in doxology, and doxology to lead to holy, passionate living for Jesus Christ. Unfortunately it seldom seems to be that easy, and so the tension between theology and experience goes on and the balance is hard to find. This is a modern day struggle but it has much historical precedent. One such precedent, which still has major ramifications for us today, has been termed “Pietism.” (16, 17)
And then in his article How Pietism Deceives Christians pastor Bob DeWaay of Critical Issues Commentary gives you some very important information regarding the centered on the self spirituality inherent in pietism. As you read on you will see the rotten root of this current evangelical infatuation with Romish bondage of so-called spiritual formation:
Pietism is difficult to define because it can be taught and practiced in an unlimited number of ways. Some versions appear to be innocuous while others are so radical that most people would see that something is wrong. I now know that no version of pietism is actually innocuous. If a teaching is called pietism but teaches no more than what God has always used to sanctify Christians, then it is not really pietism. Real pietism always harms those who embrace it.
The essence of pietism is this: It is a practice designed to lead to an experience that purports to give one an elite or special status compared to ordinary Christians. The Bible addresses this error in the book of Colossians. The false teachers in Colossae claimed to have the secret to a superior Christian experience that would cause people to rise above the bad “fate” they feared. Paul went on to explain that they already had everything they needed through Christ and His work on the cross. Another way of stating this is: If after having fully trusted Christ’s finished work on the cross, you are told that you are still lacking something, you are being taught pietism.
Church history is littered with misguided pietistic movements. Many of them are linked with mysticism. I will give examples later in this article. Pietism can be practiced many ways including enforced solitude, asceticism of various forms, man made religious practices, legalism, submission to human authorities who claim special status, and many other practices and teachings.