“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside.” (Mark 7:21-23)
Creating Your Own Way To Worship
In the Apprising Ministries post Monvee To Open Door For Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism In Evangelicalism I showed you yet another way that corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) perpetrated as so-called Spiritual Formation (SF) by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his friend and spiritual twin SBC minister Dallas Willard is slithering deeper into pretending to be Protestant mainstream evangelicalism.
As a former Roman Catholic I also brought to your attention that it’s beyond question this spurious CSM is nothing more than refried Roman Catholic mysticism with its pietism and asceticism romanticized for those who are ignorant of Church history, which you can see e.g. in Roman Catholic Monasticism Begins With “Desert Fathers”. You may recall that Monvee is billed as The Future Of Spiritual Formation; and according to Tony Morgan, “pastor of Pastor of Ministries at West Ridge Church near Atlanta,” it seems monvee will Reshape Spiritual Formation.
Like I pointed out previously, if you don’t know, Morgan is well-known in the Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven circles of Popes Of The Carolinas such as Perry Noble and his disciple Steven Furtick. This means we’re now seeing CSM in the broader Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven section of what I’ve been calling The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit (ECoD); and, though Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren himself Openly Recommends Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, in Rick Warren Wants Us To Know Peter Scazzero we have seen that CSM guru Scazzero is hooked into the Willow Creek Association.
The other day in Philip Yancey Influenced By Apostate Roman Catholic Mystics I told you that when mainstream evangelicalism made the fateful decision to bring the Trojan Horse of the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church de-formation of the Christian faith aka Emergent Church—that’s now morphed into Emergence Christianity (EC)—inside it’s walls it then opened itself to the EC version of Liberalism 2.0 that comes complete with the CSM virus, which sets out to short out one’s hard drive of critical thinking skills. A good example of this in Brian McLaren Invites You On His Quest To Destroy Christianity where in his new book leading EC guru Brian McLaren, now a Living Spiritual Teacher alongside such as Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson, lays out the reimagined ( i.e. post) form of Progressive Christianity aka liberal theology so many in the EC actually adhere to.
And now you know why we’re seeing this “Protestant” version of Roman Catholic Counter Reformation spirituality, such as that promulgated by apostates (at best) like Ignatius of Loyola who founded the militantly pro-Roman Catholic Church spiritual Gestapo Unit known as the Jesuits, slithering its way into the mainstream of the church visible; albeit in a watered-down form minus little things like self-flagellation, fasting until near death, sleeping on cement floors, and the like. We have to be careful now not to be too extreme don’t cha know; why we wouldn’t want to offend anyone or risk scaring them off by telling them all of what these Roman Catholic mystics actually did to themselves, now would we.
However, as you can see e.g. in Calvinist Contemplative/Centering Prayer? we’re even seeing otherwise orthodox Reformed pastors, such as Acts 29 Network stalwarts Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll, seemingly recommending these heterodox practices of CSM. Consider the following from Lighthouse Trails Research:
In an article written by Driscoll himself, ironically titled Obedience, Driscoll tells readers to turn to Richard Foster and contemplative Gary Thomas. Driscoll states:
As for Gary Thomas, in his book Sacred Pathways (the one Driscoll recommends), Thomas tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes in order to still the mind. This is the basic principle in all Eastern and occultic methods. (Online source)
One wonders just how learning apostate Roman Catholic spirituality from a Quaker mystic could possibly prove ”helpful” to someone who professes Reformation theology. Dr. Gary Gilley has correctly called Foster’s Celebration of Discipline “an encyclopedia of theological error” as you can see for yourself in “Celebration Of Discipline” By Richard Foster An Encyclopedia Of Theological Error. And I happen to have the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas and the fact is that chapter 9 is a veritable ode of praise for contemplatives whom Thomas says:
simply want to bathe in the ocean of love God has for his children, while the rest of us seem unfortunately content to experience that love drop by drop.
Your Authentic, True, And Sinful Self Is Actually What Has Separated You From God
Thomas then continues on with his romanticizing of mystics as he tell us about the “Acts of Contemplatives,” which he calls “many forms of prayer and activities that contemplatives can make use of in addition to general contemplative prayer.” Next Thomas goes through “The Jesus Prayer,” “Secret Acts of Devotion,” “Dancing Prayer,” “Centering Prayer” (it’s the same as Contemplative Prayer), “Prayer of the Heart,” “Stations of the Cross,” and finally “Meditative Prayer,” which you’ll see mystics also refer to as “the silence” and/or “wordless prayer.”
Under that section Meditative Prayer Thomas goes into a short spiel about Ignatius of Loyola, whom I mentioned above; Thomas though tells that his, “The Spiritual Exercises, helped make mental prayer [i.e. Contemplative/Centering Prayer] more popular.” As you’ll see in Keeping You Apprised Of: Contemplative/Centering Prayer this type of meditation in an altered state of consciousness—a TM-lite sprayed with Christian terminology—was not practiced or taught by Jesus; nor was it practiced or taught by His Apostles, and it’s nowhere taught in Scripture.
Jesuit scholar J. William Harmless, professor of historical theology and patristic studies at Creighton University which is itself a Jesuit school, informs us in his book Mystics concerning Ignatius of Loyola:
I myself belong to one of these mystical communities, the Society of Jesus [Jesuits], founded in 1540 by a flamboyant Basque mystic, Ignatius of Loyola (1492-1556). Every Jesuit at least twice in his life must go through Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises (to vastly simplify it) requires that one undergo a thirty-day silent [means meditating] retreat in which one converses only with a spiritual director.
During that month, one prays a minimum of five hours a day using a wide variety repertoire of prayer forms. The most famous is what Ignatius called contemplatio,… Jesuit mystical spirituality cannot be written down; it is, at its very core, oral… I realized that Jesuit spirituality, like Zen [Buddhist] spirituality, is a lamplight transmitted generation to generation, orally, from teacher to disciple. (240, 241)
Quite pious-sounding but in reality a classic case of seeking individual, personal, experience with God, which by nature is highly subjective and as you’ll see in John MacArthur: Existential Neo-Orthodoxy Denies Sola Scriputra Dr. MacArthur is right when he says that:
[Contemplative Spirituality aka] Mysticism is perfectly suited for religious existentialism; indeed, it is the inevitable consequence. The mystic disdains rational understanding and seeks truth instead through the feelings, the imagination, personal visions, inner voices, private illumination, of other purely subjective means. Objective truth becomes practically superfluous.
Mysticial experiences are therefore self-authenticating; that is, they are not subject to any form of objective verification. They are unique to the person who experiences them. Since they do not arise from or depend upon any rational process, they are invulnerable to any refutation by rational means… Mysticism is therefore antithetical to discernment. It is an extreme form of reckless faith.
What this CSM ends up producing is a centered on the self sappy psycho-babble form of Christianity as these mystics “go within” themselves in search of “an authentic self” aka some supposed “true self,” which at its core, is a denial of the doctrine original sin. Monvee provides us an example as we endeavor to find The Me I Want To Be with men like John Ortberg; encouraging us to seek direct experience with God via “practices you do yourself like prayer, mediation or solitude,” meaning the practice of the meditation in an altered state of consciousness of Contemplative/Centering Prayer.
From studying the fruits of meditation for years now, from many different religious sources, I can tell you that its prolonged practice eventually brings about a distorted view of reality. As I’ve pointed out before, you’ll hear Christians who practice CSM refer to this experience as “transformation” where the Buddhist would call it satori i.e. enlightenment; essentially this experience leads people into a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:2 — men will be lovers of self. The point being made is that those who meditate experience a “love” they claim is God, but God tells you they love themselves, i.e. mankind.
So despite their denial of original sin, and note how many around EC circles are now starting to openly deny it, the very experience itself is actually proof positive of the pride-filled sinful human nature.