As a direct fruit of the the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church, a neo-liberal cult now operating within mainstream of the church visible, the heart of the evangelical community is fast becoming congested by pietism and superstition.
No doubt I’ve told you many times that a key core doctrine of this evil EC was corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).
The truth is, it’s long been masquerading as spurious Spiritual Formation ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster and his spiritual twin Dallas Willard. So I 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 let’s once again consider the 2009 post Non Sola Scriptura: the Blackaby view of God’s will — 1 from Dan Phillips over at the respected Pyromaniacs blog. First, as a Southern Baptist pastor, 1) I’ve personally been through Blackaby”s magum opus Experiencing God (EG), and 2) I can also testify that within the SBC he’s essentially considered a prophet of God.
It’s my opinion that Henry Blackaby laid the groundwork for the awful influx of CSM into the SBC. Here’s an example of just how bad it is; consider Alabama Baptist Convention (SBC) Encourages You To Learn Lectio Divina From Apostate Tony Jones. Secondly, 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” which will be mentioned below.
Nor “is it about them as Christians or men.” With this out of the way, we will turn to the very serious point of contention that must be addressed within the evangelical community now that it has also embraced the so-called “Christian” mysticism of CSM; which was introduced into younger sectors of that camp by the EC. Actually, it truly is the next logical step down after Blackaby’s lite version of mysticism.
It’s important to remember that one of the goals of the EC was to drag ascetic and pietistic so-called “spiritual disciplines” into the Protestant community itself. Also note here that, in the aforementioned post at Pyro, Dan Phillips is reviewing a chapter of the book How Then Should We Choose?, edited by Douglas S. Huffman; Phillips tells us:
This chapter [called the "Specific-Will" view...written by Henry and Richard Blackaby,] 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, as well as with gurus teaching the CSM of Foster-Willardism, is that their “experience” always ends up interpreting the Bible for them. However, this 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 the centered on the self (i.e. mankind) theology of apostate Roman Catholicism in the first place.
As I said earlier, I’m quite familiar Blackaby’s EG program having gone through it when it was first a rage within the Southern Baptist Convention in the mid 90s. So, 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 wildly popular SBC Bible teacher Beth Moore who tell us on a regular basis what God has supposedly “said” to them personally.
To illustrate my point, let’s takee Moore, who is beyond question a major promoter of Henry Blackaby’s work. The video clips below come from my copy of Moore’s classic 2002 series Believing God (BG), which as you can see below, is still promoted by Lifeway—the publishing arm of the SBC:
So, this SBC LifeWay-sponsored BG Online Bible Study is important evidence and serves as representative of its own views. Moore will tell us:
tonight I’m going to do my absolute best to illustrate to you something that God showed me out on that back porch. He put a picture…I’ve explained to you before I am a very visual person…so He speaks to me very often putting a picture in my head.
And it was as if I was raised up looking down on a community, as I saw the Church in that particular dimension- certainly not all dimensions, not even in many, but in what we will discuss tonight, the church, as Jesus sees it, in a particular dimension.”
(Online source, emphasis mine)
This is Moore’s own testimony; these are her own words:
Now notice as Moore goes on to illustrate her vision in the video below, where God supposedly showed her the Church “as Jesus sees it,” she also includes the apostate Roman Catholic Church who long ago condemned the the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself:
I’m not going to say Beth Moore didn’t have a vision; what I will say is, it wasn’t given to her by God Himself. As bad as this flawed mysticism is, the Emerging Church is even further along in their delusions. Space allows just one quick example. Former Emergence Christianity icon Rob Bell illustrates this well.
He has long practiced of the crown jewel of CSM, a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness commonly known asContemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP). This would lead the highly influential 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])
As I said in Through Rob Bell “The Great Enlightened Ones” Tell Us Man Has Divine Greatness, it’s my opinion that if one doesn’t recognize here 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, this is 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. With all of this in mind, we return to the Dan Phillips post concerning this evangelical mysticism-lite.
He 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, I point you to back to Beth Moore and another glaring example of just how deeply this negation of sola Scriptura has now slithered into the mainstream of evangelicalism. In How Would You Know Beth Moore?, I actually looked at the very question Phillps asks above.
There I showed you in a video commercial for her latest study at time 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.” Really; do we now have a prophetess among us with special revelation from God concerning His “freedom” because the Word of the Lord came to Beth?
Just how will we know who’s really “hearing” from the Lord? Now suppose that I, as a pastor-teacher, was also to come forward with a Word from God. What if I now say that, “A couple of years ago Jesus placed a tremendous burden on my heart for the people of God to know the freedom of God.” Now what do we do with dueling revelations?
What is going to happen if I then went on to say, based upon Scripture, I believe the Lord says come away from false teaching advanced by all of these 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 where we know He has spoken.
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, Christian apologist Bob DeWaay issues a very needed warning when tells us that such as these are only leading us into the realm of subjectivity:
The flaws of [Henry] Blackaby’s subjectivism are rather obvious when you examine his claims objectively. God’s revealed will is not found by subjective experiences, but in Scripture. Looking around in the world hoping to discover “where God is working” is impossible since God is always working everywhere as He providentially brings history along toward His ultimate purposes.
We will be fooled by our own prejudices because we think “God working” must look something like whatever our religious inclinations tell us it will look like. Furthermore, he has elevated fallible words that may or may not be from God to the level of infallible Scripture and elevated every believer to the status of Moses and Abraham as recipients of special revelation.
Following his approach is not how we “experience God.” We cannot not know if we are experiencing God in any way other than to come to Him on His own terms, by faith. When we do, we are assured that God is with us no matter what experiences we have. (Online source)