The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)

Drinking Deadly Deception From The Poisoned Well Of Murky Mysticism

One Sunday morning recently Rob Bell, an icon in the postliberal cult of the Emergent Church and teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church, taught his Christian congregation:

It’s interesting how many traditions (pause) When you read the great enlightened ones; meditation, centering prayer, reflection—in every tradition you can find the mystics—and what’s always at the heart of the spiritual lives, the everyday lives of the great ones was always a period of time. Whether it’s prayers, chanting, meditation, reflection, study—whatever you call it—what is it essentially; it’s taking time to breathe. Because when you’ve been breathing, (slight pause) in a proper sort of way, you’re far better equipped to handle what life throws your way. (I will say it again, and again, and again, Sunday November 16, 2008 [5:41-6:23])

Here Bell comes emerging from the closet of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) of the type taught by by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster. Guru Foster, allegedly one of these “great enlightened ones” from the Christian “tradition,” now tells us below that in the transcendental meditation-lite of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) we will enter “deeply into the spiritual realm.” But then Roshi Richard, a wannabe master of the so-called “interior life,” gives us “a warning and a precaution” that CCP is certainly not for every Christian because of its inherent danger:

Contemplative Prayer immerses us into the silence of God. How desperately we in the modern world need this wordless baptism… Contemplative Prayer is the one discipline that can free us from our addiction to words. Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence… It is recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer…

A Warning And A Precaution

At the outset I need to give a word of warning,… Contemplative Prayer is not for the novice. I do not say this about any other form of prayer… Contemplative prayer is for those who have exercised their spiritual muscles a bit and know something about the landscape of the spirit. In fact, those who work in the area of spiritual direction always look for signs of a maturing faith before encouraging individuals into Contemplative Prayer…

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection. (Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home, 155, 156, 157)

Rob Bell says in his Nooma DVD “Breathe,” that supposedly some ancients believed our “physical breath” is “actually a picture of a deeper reality.” In fact in his sermon on breathing, which would form the text for that particular DVD,” Bell inadvertantly shares with us something concerning this alleged “deeper reality” that he now has in common with “the enlightened ones.” You see, consistent with all who practice this type of transcendental meditation Bell also has received his transformation aka enlightenment (satori in Buddhism) that “God” dwells deep inside all of mankind.

 And because of this Bell now informs us we are all divine:

There is a Greatness; there is a Life Source; there is a Power and Strength and Vitality that rests inside of every single one of these divine dirt clods. And the writer says, “we are so fragile and yet we’ve been breathed into by the same Being that made the universe.” There is a greatness. The writer here uses the word “glory and honor” that resides in every single human being. Fragile and yet filled with the potential for glory and honor.

I love how Nelson Mandela puts it in one of his writings. He says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” And then he concludes by saying, “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” We were born to manifest the glory—put on display, to show—the glory of God that is within us.” He says, “you may be a dirt clod, but there is greatness and power and glory that resides in every singe human being.”

I have covered this elsewhere but so far adrift of Biblical theology has Bell become through his CSM that he wasn’t quoting Nelson Mandela, this Christian pastor was praising the decidedly antichristian theology of New Age Priestess Marianne Williamson as I pointed out in Rob Bell and New Age Guru Marianne Williamson. That quote is from her book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A COURSE IN MIRACLES. Read for yourself below:

‘our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us the most.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, famous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just some of us; it’s in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. And as we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (190,191, emphasis mine)

This is the teaching known as “the spark of the divine” or a “divine spark” of God within humankind and it’s a classic doctrine of mysticsm and while consistent with the theology of Oprah Winfrey it is diametrically opposed to Biblical theology as you can see in Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind. Far from Bell discovering anything new this so-called spark of the divine goes all the way back through the Gnosticism of the first century, which the early Church battled in the New Testament, all the way to its author the very Devil himself who once boasted — “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14).

The One True And Living God Does Not Accept Unrepentant Mankind Just As They Are

I’ll also tell you this, as one who’s been studying Comparative Religion and non-Christian cults for over twenty years what I find fascinating is the striking spiritual similarity to something we actually find in the classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults (KoC) by Dr. Walter Martin. Within Martin shares the “Seven Principles” of the theology of Spiritism. And interestingly enough the first two of which are also found in the theology of those who practice CSM along with Bell e.g. Tony Campolo and so-called “non-exclusive” and Progressive Christian Dr. Marcus Borg:

I.  The Fatherhood of God
II. The Brotherhood of Man (274)

You may recall in Rob Bell On The Emerging Issue of Homosexuality: Mum’s the Word I reminded readers that in the March 6, 2005 edition of the Detroit Free Press David Crumm, who is a fan of Rob Bell, discussed Bell’s musings about the love of God:

Homosexuality? Bell tells gay people the same thing he tells everyone who walks through the door. It’s a powerfully affirming line that he repeated in his sermon on Sunday: “God loves you exactly as you are. Period.” 

Now let me explain to you how this would logically follow for Bell et al. You see, in the spirit world of CSM feelings-oriented fantasy, if you practice it enough you will finally receive your “revelation” [i.e. enlightenment/transformation] that we are all in a universal Fatherhood of God with its Brotherhood of Man. This mystic myth of repainted Gnosticism further holds that there’s really no need for creed or repentance from sin because as you finally discover your true/authentic self you come to understand that the God of Love actually accepts you just as.

Remember, Rob Bell has emphatically stated: “God loves you exactly as you are. Period.” And with that declaration perhaps one of the seducing spirits speaking to Rob in his transcendental meditation of CCP was really just singing a hymn to him. Did you know that these exact same false ideas about God, which Rob Bell has been receiving through his experience with these so-called “Enlightened Ones” and their doctrines of demons spread through transcendental meditation, are also found in cults like Spiritism?

You see, this is what is being overlooked today concerning this reimagined so-called “Christian” mysticism. As Dr. Martin once pointed out, in reference to our opening verse above, demons are very real and they do have teachings. And keep in mind here that in this spurious CSM we are attempting to receive messages outside of Scripture in “the silence” of the spiritual world. So should it really come as any great surprise when in KoC Martin then shows us the following:

The Spiritualistic Hymnal indicates changes made on well-known hymns and we have listed one to demonstrate their theological position in so doing:

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that, O God, Thou madest me,
And that my life is found in Thee
O God of Love, I come, I come.
Just as I am, nor poor, nor blind,
Nor bound by chains in soul or mind;
For all of Thee within I find
O God of Love, I come, I come.
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Tho’ dogmas I may ne’er believe,
Nor heights of holiness achieve
O God of Love, I come, I come. (275)

You know, that sure does look an awful lot like the “everyone is already forgiven but they just don’t know it”message of Rob Bell and his pal Emerging Church pastor and quasi-universalist Doug Pagitt. After all in his first book Velvet Elvis Bell did speculate:

So this reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross, he wasreconciling “all things, in heaven and on earth, to God”. All things, everwhere. This reality then isn’t something that we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making. (146, emphasis mine)

And if, as in the Spiritist hymn above, “this reality” from the “God of Love” really is already “true for everybody” then there would be no need for “dogmas I may ne’er believe” nor any “heights of holiness” to achieve. But in any event, this kind of spiritually has exactly no place in evangelical Christianity, period; and this mystic myth most assuredly does not belong in your church’s youth ministry.

See also:







Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Spencer Burke: More on hell and universalism