NANCY DEMOSS TURNS LISTENERS TO RICHARD FOSTER FOR GUIDANCE


In Apprising Ministries pieces like Richard Foster Says Bible Reliable Guide Despite “Inconsistencies” and John Piper, Rick Waren & Foster-Willardism has long been warning you about the danger of listening to neo-Gnostics like Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.

For years now Foster, along with his his spiritual twin Dallas Willard, has been teaching corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) under the guise of so-called Spiritual Formation and horribly corrupted a huge segment of the visible Christian church; particularly the younger sectors.

What the CSM of Foster-Willardism is not, is evangelical Protestant Christianity; and worse, this highly subjective CSM is truly hostile to the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura. It’s a romanticized version of Roman Catholic Counter Reformation spirituality, which is itself essentially a neo-Gnosticism.

Frankly, I don’t care who doesn’t like to hear this; I’m not here for a personality contest. Richard Foster’s sinful ecumenicism is counter to the trustworthy word as taught and to sound doctrine (cf. Titus 1:9). As such we are:

to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

This means we shouldn’t be referring people to the mythical works of false teachers like Richard Foster. That makes the following all the more disconcerting as yesterday on her Revive Our Hearts Radio Nancy Leigh DeMoss, who is ostensibly a conservative evangelical did do just that.

While she was talking “about some of the potential pitfalls of servanthood” DeMoss points her listeners to Richard Foster:

Then here’s another caution, another danger or pitfall. I think we all fall into this at times. It has to do with our motives. Why do we serve? So often I have to say in my own life my reason for serving, my reason for doing some act of service is simple. It’s so somebody else will see, so somebody else will notice, so somebody else will appreciate. It’s for recognition. It’s total self.

That is not a servant’s heart. I want to please others. I want to be rewarded. The pure motive is just love for God. Love for others. But there is that tainting of selfish motives I will tell you in almost everything I do. I have to be repenting of my acts of service very often. Only God knows my heart. God’s Spirit shows me my heart and convicts me: “The reason you’re doing this is because you want to be noticed. You want to be appreciated.”

I’ll just say—and you’ve experienced this—if that’s why you’re serving, you’ve got your reward. That’s all the reward you’re getting is other people to see. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew, chapter 6.

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. [That’s the motive—it has to do with why they’re doing it.]Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matt. 6:1-4)

Do you want your reward now or do you want it later? Do you want the reward from your husband and your kids, or do you want the ultimate reward from Christ? This thing of motives.

Richard Foster said in one of his books,

The flesh whines against service, but it screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition. It [the flesh] will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. [Ouch. Isn’t that true? He goes on to say,] If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh, we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify pride and arrogance.

We want to be seen. We want to be known. We want to be noticed. But a true servant is not motivated by the applause of men. (source, bold hers)

What Richard Foster said, well meaning as it may be, is rooted in legalistic pietism; i.e. an abuse of the Law. While there is some truth to what he says, we don’t crucify our flesh, Jesus has already done that for us. The issue is: Can’t we find an orthodox Christian to speak to this? Why a heretic?

The quote is from page 130 of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline (CoD). Well, that’s if DeMoss was using the 1998 version; the same quote is on page 114 of the original 1978 version of CoD. The one where when discussing Origin Of Contemplative/Centering, meditation in an altered state of consciousness, Foster tells us:

A fourth form of meditation has as its objective to bring you into a deep inner communion with the Father where you look at Him and He looks at you. In your imagination, picture yourself walking along a lovely forest path. Take your time, allowing the blaring noise of our modern megalopolis to be overtaken by the sound of rustling leaves and cool forest streams. After observing yourself for a bit, take the perspective of one walking, rather than the one observed.

Try to feel the breeze upon your face as if it were gently blowing away all anxiety. Stop along the way to ponder the beauty of flowers and birds. When you are able to experience the scene with all your senses, the path breaks onto a lovely grassy knoll. Walk out into the lush large meadow for a time, lie down on your back staring up at blue sky and white clouds. Enjoy the sights and smells. Thank the Lord for the beauty.

After awhile there is a deep yearning within to go into the upper regions beyond the clouds. In your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily. Imagine your spiritual self, alive and vibrant, rising up through the clouds and into the stratosphere. Observe your physical body, the knoll, and the forest shrink as you leave the earth.

Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence. Listen quietly, anticipating the unanticipated. Note carefully any instruction given. With time and experience you will be able to distin-(27)guish readily between mere human thought that may bubble up to the conscious mind and the True Spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart. Do not be surprised if the instruction is terribly practical and not in the least what you thought of as “spiritual.”

Do not be disappointed if no words come: Like good friends, you are silently enjoying the company of each other. When it is time for you to leave, audibly thank the Lord for His goodness and return to the meadow. Walk joyfully back along the path until you return home full of new life and energy.1

As Christian apologist Bob DeWaay has correctly pointed out, this going down inside oneself in transcendental meditation is actually satanic because:

The Bible nowhere describes an inward journey to explore the realm of the spirit. God chose to reveal the truth about spiritual reality through His ordained, Spirit-inspired, biblical writers. What is spiritual and not revealed by God is of the occult and, therefore, forbidden. We have discussed this in many articles and have produced DVD seminars on the topic. But the concept of sola scriptura is totally lost on mystics such as Richard Foster.

They, like the enthusiasts that Calvin and Luther warned against, believe they can gain valid and useful knowledge of spiritual things through direct, personal inspiration…what Foster wishes us to fill our minds with are personal revelations from the spirit realm that we naively are to think are the voice of God. This sort of meditation is not meditating on what God has said, but uses a technique to explore the spirit world. In other words, it is divination. (source)

I would certainly hope that Nancy DeMoss isn’t advocating any of that; however, this is all part of the corrupt package that is Richard Foster. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only apostate referred to on DeMoss’ program yesterday. We also heard praise for so-called “Brother” Lawrence.

During a pitch for funding we’re told “Nancy’s friends have been listening to this series along with us and…[we’ll] hear from Holly Elliff, and here’s Kim Wagner.” Following is some of what we heard:

Holly Elliff: It was a moment when you had lost perspective as Nancy mentioned earlier.

Kim: Lost perspective big time. I am so thankful that at some point through young motherhood—I don’t even know who passed it on to me. I don’t know where I picked it up. I just believe it was the sovereign gift of God that He gave me that little book by Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of Christ. Brother Lawrence talked about the drudgery of working in the kitchen and how he turned that drudgery into times of worship.

Holly: While he was peeling potatoes.

Kim: Peeling potatoes, washing pots and pans. He turned it into just a sanctuary of worship.  (source)

Let’s not go chasing a rabbit down a hole here. Of course we can worship God in the most simple of tasks. The issue is: Why would we want to turn to an apostate Roman Catholic monk in order to learn about Christian spirituality? This is to introduce leaven into DeMoss’ audience, pure and simple.

As I told you e.g. in Beth Moore Praises Brother Lawrence And Obscures The Reformation “Brother” Lawrence was a Carmelite Roman Catholic monk by the name of Nicholas Herman (1614-1691). After contemplating a particular tree at 18 he received “a revelation” from God and would become a Roman Catholic monk.

It’s important to this discussion that you remember the Reformation had happened and that the very spiritual practices of Herman’s monastic order were developed by Teresa of Avila. If you wish to know more about this emotionally troubled Roman Catholic nun and mystic I’ll refer you to Who Is Teresa of Avila?

Here I’m only going to point out that Dr. Ursula King, a proponent of mysticism herself, who us that Teresa’s:

mysticism was influenced by the spirituality and methods of the Jesuits and Franciscans, but given her partly Jewish background, her thinking was also affected by Jewish Kabbalistic mysticism, elements of which can be detected in her writings.2

Sadly, today these Roman Catholic mystics are being romanticized and undergoing a revisionist history within the visible church. For Lawrence, his supposedly being so in tune with God’s’ presence would lead him to remain in spiritual slavery to the apostate religious system of the Roman Catholic Church.

An organization that has anathematized the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and which Dr. John MacArthur rightly referred to as “Satan’s best front for the Kingdom of God.” So, why would we even want to follow this kind of stupid spirituality; rooted, as it is, in the Counter Reformation of the Church of Rome?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss should repent for pointing Christians to the bankrupt spirituality of these apostates.

Further reading

Endnotes

  1.  Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, (New York: Harper & Row, 1978), 28.
  2. Ursula King, Christian Mystics [Mahwah: HiddenSpring, 2001], 149, 150.