We present the following here at Apprising Ministries as further example that, even within the more conservative mainstream of ostensibly Protestant evangelicalism, highly subjective “experience” is now beginning to trump the written text of the Bible. As an illustration we’ll consider Non Sola Scriptura: the Blackaby view of God’s will — 1 from Dan Phillips over at the fine online discernment and apologetics ministry blog Pyromaniacs. While some still dream that there’s some “ODM world,” the truth is I have no connection whatsoever to anyone at Pyro.
First, just as Phillips, AM also wants you to know that what is written “is not about the Blackabys, but about the view they advocate in this book” mentioned below. Nor “is it about them as Christians or men.” With this out of the way, we turn to the very serious point of contention that must be addressed within the evangelical community now that it has also embraced the far worse so-called “Christian” mysticism of the extremely ecumenical Emerging Church, which has always been at its core. One of the goals of Emergent Church was to drag ascetic and pietistic “disciplines” back into the Protestant community.
Note here also that Phillips is reviewing a chapter of the book How Then Should We Choose?, edited by Douglas S. Huffman, and he tells us:
This chapter is just about the single most appalling trainwreck I’ve read in recent memory, whether viewed exegetically, hermeneutically, theologically, or pastorally. The implications, if taken and followed out seriously by anyone (—God forbid!), are absolutely catastrophic. (Online source)
The central issue with the Blackabys, and with men like Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, is that their “experience” always ends up interpreting the Bible for them, which is absolutely backward—and sure to lead to spiritual disaster. In fact, this is really the exact same dead-end road that would end up producing centered on the self (i.e. mankind) apostate Roman Catholicism in the first place. As one who’s been through the “Experiencing God” program when it was first a rage within the Southern Baptist Convention in the mid 90s I am quite familiar with it.
I can tell you that Phillips is absolutely correct when he says:
Non sola Scriptura. The insufficiency of Scripture is a major pillar to the Blackaby position. About this they are emphatic — in all but the use of that phrase. They do say many nice things about the Bible, allowing (for instance) that it is “the primary way God communicates with His people” (p. 55). “Primary,” but not nearly the sole way.
Language that the Bible reserves for binding, inerrant, verbal prophetic revelation is repeatedly applied indiscriminately to normal Christian living. (Online source)
As a matter of fact, what Phillips has just said above concerning Henry Blackaby is just as dead-on-target for a rapidly increasing amount of evangelical notables as well. Take for example Southern Baptist megapastor Rick Warren and Word Faith mogul Joel Osteen who tell us of a regular basis what God has supposedly “said” to them personally. And Emergence Christianity icon Rob Bell is even worse because he is an open practitioner of the corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism spewed by Foster and his spiritual twin SBC minister Dallas Willard as their spurious Spiritual Formation.
This has now led Bell to say such stupid things as:
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. (5:41-6:23) (I will say it again, and again, and again, [5:41-6:23])
In Through Rob Bell “The Great Enlightened Ones” Tell Us Man Has Divine Greatness I told you it’s my opinion that if one doesn’t recognize here that Rob Bell is praising “the mystics”—of [insert whatever religion here]—for their supposedly superior spiritual understanding, which is but a reimagined Gnosticism, it’s simply because they just do not wish to see. But the truth is, as the rancid fruit of “what does this verse mean to you” Bible studies, for years now evangelicals really have been steadily moving away from Sola Scriptura and directly toward the more existential neo-orthodox view of Scripture.
However, it’s here that Phillips then asks the critical question:
How to divine the Divine? Say you are convinced that you must hear God’s voice, must receive this flow of extra-canonical revelation that the Blackabys say is essential for a relationship with God. How do you do it? How do you hear God’s voice? (Online source)
And as we close this for now, with hugely popular Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore I point you to another glaring example of just how deeply this negation of Sola Scriptura has now slithered into the mainstream of evangelicalism. As far as Moore, in How Would You Know Beth Moore?, we looked at the very question Phillps asks above. There I showed you that Moore has said, “Several years ago Christ began to place a tremendous burden on my heart for the people of God to know the freedom of God.” Well, how will we know who’s really “hearing” from the Lord?
As a pastor, and based upon Scripture, I now say that the Lord actually says come away from false teaching advanced by contemplative dreamers because the best way to embrace the freedom of God is simply to read the Bible; pray consciously, and then do what it says in His Word. And as it concerns Henry Blackaby et al, in his Criticial Issues Commentary piece Unbiblical Teachings on Prayer and Experiencing God: How Mysticism Misleads Christians, pastor Bob DeWaay issues a very needed warning when tells us that they are only leading us “into the realm of subjectivity.”