Todd Bentley Supporters Take Note: Contemplative Centering Prayer Advocates Finally Admit That Their Practice Is Not Biblical!
Posted by Job on June 18, 2008
Todd Bentley fans, Bentley along with his crew of “prophets” are heavily into the contemplative prayer scam and similar abominations. Here, Apprising Ministries informs you that the very people who started this fad rolling downhill into the lake of fire acknowledge that it is not supported in or derived from the Bible.
They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, But they mingled with the nations, And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them.(Psalm 136:34-36)
Contemplative Spirituality Was A Core Doctrine Of The Emerging Church
In the Apprising Ministries article Prayer Is News in the Southern Baptist Convention—But What Type of Prayer? we began to look once again at the growing acceptance of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism festering within the apostatizing Southern Baptist Convention. TheSlowly Becoming Catholic, an allegedly evangelical Protestant denomination, is hardly alone in their re-embrace of this neo-pagan mysticism that originally flowered within the apostate Roman Catholicism.
And as we watch this false version of Christian spirituality spreading apostasy throughout the American Christian Church it seems good to give you a working knowledge concerning just whereContemplative/Centering Prayer actually came from. We begin with the incontrovertible fact that emphasis on so-called “Christian” mystic traditions was a core doctrine of the theology of theEmerging Church from its inception.
As such the Emergent Church has proved to be a very fertile ground into which mystics like Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster could plant their neo-pagan spiritual elements of so-called spiritual formation that are actually absolutely hostile to the historic Christian faith. You also need to realize that this Gnostic mysticism with its warped spiritual practices is still very much an integral part of the theology of the Emerging Church.
Emerging Church Authorities Speak On So-Called “Christian” Mysticism
In an article from Christianity Astray Today called “The Emergent Mystique,” Emergent Guru Brian McLaren, a most prominent theologian within “Emergent, the emerging church network that he and several other church planters and pastors lead,” cites Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, with their emphasis on spiritual disciplines, “as key mentors for the emerging church” (“Online source) As a matter of fact the source link I’m using for this CT article actually comes from McLaren’s own website where he also provides a running commentary throughout.
In McLaren’s comments on the section of The Emergent Mystique concerning Willard and Foster, which I just quoted above, we read:
“He cites Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, with their emphasis on spiritual disciplines, as key mentors for the emerging church. None of these thinkers has any inclination to throw out the baby of truth with the bathwater of modernity.”
I’m grateful to Andy for including the preceding, because many people doubt this.(Online source)
Elsewhere on McLaren’s website a reader asks the Guru to tell him more about the subject of “Spiritual Formation,” which is simply another way to refer to this contemplative spirituality we’re discussing within this article:
The reason I am writing you is because I am trying to better understand what spiritual formation is…I think it is important to seek the wisdom of today’s leaders. I have heard a lot on this subject from people such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, but I was wondering what Spiritual Formation is to you. How would you define Spiritual Formation and what kind of importance would you place on it with the current generation? I appreciate your time.
A: I hope to do some writing on this subject in a year or two. In the meantime, I have deep appreciation for what my friend Dallas Willard is saying. He, and those he points to, are great guides.
And as evidenced by this answer to a reader’s question, McLaren also seems to have a deep appreciation for what the Roshi Richard Foster is doing for the “Christian mystical tradition” as well. Please also note below that in addition to Foster Emergent Spiritual Director McLaren recommends Tony Jones’ book Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life (SW) as a good resource on the subject of contemplative spirituality/mysticism as well:
In some of my readings, both of books authored by you and others, I have read about Christian mystics. Who are the predominant Christian mystic authors?
Answer: If you pick up Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline” and his other work via Renovare, you’ll get a great exposure to the Christian mystical tradition. “The Spiritual Formation Workbook” is a great resource too. Tony Jones’ “The Sacred Way” is also a sturdy introduction to contemplative practices. (Online source )
Emergent Church Authorities Now Reveal Christ Didn’t Teach Contemplative/Centering Prayer
So now we have established Swami Richard Foster as a “key” mentor and source of authority in the Emergent Church on contemplative practices and the “Christian” mystic tradition. And we have also seen from a leading theologian in the Emerging Church that Tony Jones, the National Coordinator of Emergent Village (EV), is also to be considered a “sturdy” authority on this so-called “Christian” mysticism as well.
Foster writes about “The Discipline of Meditation” in his book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, which is his classic dissertation on these so-called “spiritual disciplines.” Unfortunately Foster is guilty of using circular logic below when he laments:
Often there is a question as to whether meditation can be spoken of as Christian. Is it not the exclusive property of Eastern religions? Whenever I speak to a group on meditation as a classic Christian Discipline, there is the inevitable raising of eyebrows,… It is a sad commentary on the spiritual state of modern Christianity that meditation is a word so foreign to its ears. Meditation has always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion, a crucial preparation for and adjunct to the work of prayer. (14, 1978 ed.)
Don’t you find it odd that as Foster speaks to a “group” they are surprised how something that has allegedly “always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion” like meditation seems “so foreign” to “modern Christianity”. And how do we know that, “Meditation has always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion”? Answer: We don’t. This is because it hasn’t ever even been a part of the historic orthodox Christian faith.
In his own mind Foster believes meditation is “crucial” to prayer, so therefore it is. But without any proof from history he is simply begging the question when he states that, “Meditation has always stood as a classical and central part of Christian devotion.”. Yes, Foster does go on to say, “Meditation was certainly not foreign to the authors of Scripture.” It’s beyond the scope of this piece to go into this further, however, Foster then cites Genesis 24:63; Psalm 1:2; 63:6; and 198:148, which do use the word meditation in most translations of the Bible.
However, Foster is clearly forcing his own definition of this mind-emptying Eastern-style meditation into these verses because this type of meditation is absolutely unknown to orthodox Judaism. So where did this Contemplative/Centering Prayer aka “Christian” meditation actually come from? Let’s bring in Emergent anti-theologian and Emerging Church authority on “contemplative practices” Tony Jones.
In SW Jones gives us an accurate historical background concerning this spiritual discipline of meditation practiced by mystics and Quakers like the Richard Foster. In his chapter entitled “Centering Prayer” Jones tells us:
“Like the Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer grew out of the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers. John Cassian (c.360-c.430) came from the West and made a pilgrimage to the desert to learn the ways of contemplative prayer … Cassian was deeply influenced by his time in the desert, and he wrote his book The Conferencesabout his conversations with the Desert Fathers to acquaint Western Christians with their teachings. (70, emphasis mine)
We can see in the above that “the Jesus Prayer,” as well as “Centering Prayer,” actually arose through “the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers.” And further we find out that this type of mystic meditation was unknown prior to these apostate Desert Fathers circa 4th century. One might also observe that Jones makes no mention whatsoever of this meditation being an Apostolic doctrine nor is there reference to Christ or His Apostles ever employing these practices themselves.
This is for good reason; the simple fact is that it wasn’t taught by Christ, it was never Apostolic doctrine in the New Testament and there is no evidence extant that the Master or His Apostles ever practiced this so-called Christian meditation. Please also note above that Jones equates “Centering Prayer” with “Contemplative Prayer.” And let me also bring to your attention that history shows John Cassian would go on in his own contemplative mysticism to develop the man-centered form of semi-pelagian theology at the root of the Emerging Church currently crippling contemporary Christianity in this nation (Online source).
Sadly, this warped and toxic teaching would then be metastasized into the mainstream of the evangelical community through Zondervan, a publisher of contemplative spirituality as well as a financial supporter of EV at their 2006 National Pastors Conference (NPC). You need to know that 2006 NPC was also sponsored by InterVarsity Press, also publishing contemplative mysticism and another financial supporter of EV. And it would be through 2006 NPC providing teachers of a counterfeit Christianity like Dan Kimball, Jones, and his own pastor Doug Pagitt, a legitimate forum that these Emergent Church leaders would then present this spurious type of contemplative spirituality/mysticism to your pastors and youth ministers.
by Ken Silva, pastor-teacher at April 29, 2008 04:44 PM Copyright © 2008 by Ken Silva. All rights reserved.
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