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Monday, March 1, 2010

What is Contemplative Spirituality?

By Justin Edwards

Last week we began to define the Emergent Church which is now known as Emergence Christianity (EC). It was explained that EC has embraced the postmodern philosophy that morality is relative to the individual since there is no known universal truth. EC claims the Word of God is unable to be interpreted with clarity and therefore the ambiguity of Scripture is celebrated. This leads to a "christianity" that seeks to conform to the world and tolerate sin, both of which are clearly unbiblical. Historical doctrines are destroyed, such as blood atonement and hell as a place of eternal judgment, and God is seen only as a god of love - which He is - but He is also sovereign, holy, righteous, and just - and He will judge those who reject Him. But the leaders of the EC movement deny the wrath of God and are leading untold numbers away from the cross of Jesus Christ.

We will now begin discussing the means by which EC teaches to "experience" God, which is through what is known as contemplative spirituality and mysticism (CSM). Lighthouse Trails Research Project defines contemplative spirituality as

A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but is often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).

While CSM is taught to be essential to the life of the Christian by EC proponents, there is no biblical basis for these practices and, in fact, they are antithetical to the Christian faith. As one goes deeper into the mystical experience, they are led to accept that all religions experience god in their own way. CSM is the bridge to all religions, and it is practiced by Buddhists, Hindus, and New Age practitioners. The cross of Christ is removed from the "conversation", and all are welcome to experience god no matter the religious background or affiliation.

To illustrate how dangerous this occult spirituality is, read the following quotes from professed Christians:

  • Zen Buddhism should be taught in every 5th grade class in America - M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled. (1)
    • [Y]ou and I may have strong opinions on double predestination, supralapsarianism, and biblical inerrancy, but these should not be considered evangelical essentials." - Richard Foster, Christian Mystic
    • I do yoga, tai chi which is a Chinese martial art and three kinds of meditation-vipasana, transcendental and mantra (sound) meditation. - Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul (1)
    • I began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer, once again. I integrated the use of Tai Chi and yoga. - John M. Talbot, Catholic monk and musician (1)
    • I look for inspirational messages from a variety of sources besides Jesus. our folks get to hear words of wisdom from great prophets and spiritual leaders like Buddha, Mohammed...Yognanda and the Dalai Lama. - Ken Blanchard, author of The One-Minute Manager (1)
    • I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. - Brian McLaren, a leader of the Emerging Church movement (1)
    • We need to become aware of the Cosmic Christ, which means recognizing that every being has within it the light of Christ. - Matthew Fox, author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (1)

      Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and NO MAN comes to the Father except through Him. By offering unsuspecting people a way to "experience" God, the EC is leading millions to hell for the sake of feeling the supernatural.

      This week will be spent understanding contemplative spirituality/mysticism and the reasons why it is so dangerous. There are many practices involved with this occult tradition, and it is my aim to expose this great deception and lead many out of its grips.

      The following article from Got Questions further explains:

      Question: "What is contemplative spirituality?"

      Contemplative spirituality is an extremely dangerous practice for any person who desires to live a biblical, God-centered life. It is most commonly associated with the emerging church movement, which is riddled with false teachings. It is also used by many different groups that have little, if any, connection with Christianity.

      In practice, contemplative spirituality is primarily centered on meditation, although not meditation with a biblical perspective. Passages such as Joshua 1:8 actually exhort us to meditate: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Notice what the focus of meditation should be—the Word of God. Contemplative spirituality-driven meditation focuses on nothing, literally. A practitioner is exhorted to completely empty his/her mind, to just “be.” Supposedly, this helps one to open up to a greater spiritual experience. However, we are exhorted in Scripture to transform our minds to that of Christ's, to have His mind. Emptying our minds is contrary to such active, conscious transformation.

      Contemplative spirituality also encourages the pursuit of a mystical experience with God. Mysticism is the belief that knowledge of God, spiritual truth, and ultimate reality can be gained through subjective experience. This emphasis on experiential knowledge erodes the authority of Scripture. We know God according to His Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God's Word is complete. There is no reason to believe that God adds additional teachings or truths to His Word through mystical experiences. Instead, our faith and what we know about God is based on fact.

      The website for the Center for Contemplative Spirituality sums it up well: “We come from a variety of secular and religious backgrounds and we each seek to enrich our journey through spiritual practice and study of the world's great spiritual traditions. We desire to draw closer to the loving Spirit which pervades all creation and which inspires our compassion for all beings.” There is absolutely nothing biblical about such goals. Studying the world’s “spiritual traditions” is an exercise in futility because any spiritual tradition other than that which exalts Christ is falsehood. The only way to draw closer to God is through the path He has ordained—Jesus Christ and the Word.

      1.  Yungen, Ray. A Time of Departing: How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World's Religions. Lighthouse Trails Publishing, United States. Second Edition 2006, Fourth Printing 2008.

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