By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Mar 7, 2010 in AM Missives, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, Current Issues, Emergence Christianity, Emergent Church, Features, Rob Bell, Shane Hipps, Youth Ministry
…and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:8-9, NASB)
Mysticism Is Opposed To Sola Scriptura
Should you be a regular reader of Apprising Ministries you will know that an alleged “greatness” within man is a very common theme of the delusion people eventually receive through prolonged practice of meditation in altered states of consciousness i.e. transcendental meditation. Professing Christians who are involved in this corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), such as Rob Bell or Emerging Church mentor and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, will often speak of this type of “wordless” Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) as going into “the silence.”
Since my ministry involves apologetics and Comparative Religion I’ve been studying the subject of meditation in various religions and traditions for years now. At its humanistic heart is the false belief that those who practice meditation will eventually progress into a higher form of consciousness, which is commonly referred to as “transformation” or “enlightenment.” In a recent AM article For Brian McLaren And Marcus Borg Being “Born Again” Is Reaching “Enlightenment” you’ll even see “Progessive Christian” scholar Marcus Borg teaching that Buddha himself reached transformation and was “born again.”
And there’s one thing that all mystics e.g. in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project have in common, whether they be of the Christian persuation like Borg and Brian McLaren, or if they be of the New Age variety, such as Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. They will eventually begin to go on and on about these supposed “great enlightened ones,” who are the mystics of meditation in each of the religious traditions. As an exact case in point consider the following from Rob Bell’s sermon I will say it again, and again, and again last November:
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’ve said elsewhere that if one doesn’t recognize here that Bell is praising “the mystics” for their supposedly superior spiritual insight and understanding, which is actually a new form of Gnosticism, I personally believe it’s simply because they just do not wish to see. Bell has just stated in the clearest terms possible that these “enlightened ones”—who’re not just Christians but from “many” religious “traditions” as well—are thought to “great” because they “breathe.” This is classic mystic-speak by Bell for the practice of CCP i.e. the centering prayer/meditation “at the heart of” their “spiritual lives”; there’s absolutely no way around it.
And one of the classic symptoms of the deception one receives as they continue on in this unbiblical practice of meditation in altered states of consciousness is a distorted view of the actual nature of unregenerate mankind. As I already pointed out in Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind  you’ll usually see it referred to as “a spark of the divine” or “a divine spark”; this is thought to be the literal presence of God mystics believe is already within all of mankind, whether he is regenerate or not. And this is why the Emerging Church is busy attacking the Fall in order to try and do away with it.
The reason being, this idea of God already indwelling mankind prior to being “born again” is a flat denial of the biblical doctrine of regeneration; and so, they must find a way to get rid of the doctrine of original sin itself. Lord willing, I’ll have more on that another time; but in closing this for now, let me show you that the new co-teaching pastor at MHBC with Rob Bell, Shane Hipps, recently taught this false doctrine himself. In his sermon Wind in the Sail, while teaching on the first chapter of John’s Gospel, Hipps told MHBC:
We need religious structures, external things we can touch and see and traditions and lineages that teach us so that we can better catch the wind… Just because we claim Jesus as the center of our religion does not make us one and the same with the wind of God. It just means we have another sail… That’s what John’ll be pointing us to…the logos becoming flesh…
God animates everything that is in the world. And that’s why it says, “It was the life and light of all people.” It didn’t say the light and life of the people who believe in Jesus. This logos affects everybody including Osama bin Laden, as long as he’s got breath, in him, is a spark of the divine.
This isn’t Christianity; but, it is classic Eastern mysticism and panentheism. The truth is, Rob Bell and Shane Hipps should certainly not be considered evangelicals while teaching this kind of neo-Gnostic mysticism.
1. The opening text of Scripture above is enough to refute the erroneous teaching that God indwells all of mankind.