Wednesday, March 19

Contemplative mistruth....spirituality man's way

"The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." (Isaiah 29:13-14)

I left my old church because of the diverging movement from what the original mission statement was and the direction that the Founding Pastor was taking. Various little things disquieted my heart as I listened to sermons and discussions, mostly concerning things like "I don't need accountability" and "If you don't like the way things are, leave."

It became clearly evident to me while I served at as Senior Chaplain at the Meadowbrook Chapel that there was a marked difference between what I read and studied when compared to what was being preached. I can't claim that I felt fine about the leadership's dismissal of my Call to ministry, but it wasn't the reason behind the slow and painful process of realizing the views expressed "don't necessarily reflect the views of evangelical born-agains or God." By digging in research for my own services, I gradually felt that there was incorrect biblical truths being ignored or misstated in the home church. I left quietly just before Thanksgiving last year.

My wife brought home a book last night that she was told 'by someone we both know' who had read it and felt that I needed to read it. It's by a pastor who was struggling in his leadership of his church, dealing with issues like alcoholism and such, at least according to the back cover, and found contemplative spirituality to be the way to emotionally mature spirituality.

My wife said, in a discussion that we had earilier, that this Pastor's wife told him that he was his pursuit of ministry he had neglected his wife and family. Two things hit me as I picked up the book; one the 'emotionally' in the title and then "contemplative spirituality" on the back. Something didn't sound right and so I went investigating about this philosophy and where it's roots lie. I've always told my wife, there is one absolute that I hold all else against; the Bible. That is when I discovered the truth behind the glittering image of another humanistic attempt to redefine God.

It is the latest weapon in the arsenal of those we were warned of who honor God with their lips but hold their hearts far from His bright light of truth.

Humanism and naturalism, the gnostic-driven belief that has been relabeled "emergent movement", have found a new champion in the 'contemplative spirituality' or eastern mysticism doctrine that is seeping its way into the evangelical mind-set through the disillusionment and distortion of our youth and college-age generation. The name itself, just as 'emergence' is, is misleading. We are told to contemplate and meditate.....upon the Word of God. To study those things that stand well beyond our capabilities to truly 'gain' them in this broken, saddened world through our natural tendency of sinfulness.

Yet, this growing movement doesn't give any weigh, other than a passing glance, to the biblical principles of centuries past. The Millenials have been taught that spiritual growth and true spirituality occur by contemplation not of Scripture or even of scriptural themes, but contemplation of God through emptying your mind. God is holy and is a "wholly other," undefinable by doctrinal systems and destroyed by western rationalism. We have the capability, the Millenial emergents claim, to move beyond intellect, doctrine, and even words to gain a deeper union with God. Naturalism and Humanism are mere vehicles through the mystic wall to rejoining God in spiritual mysticism. Realtivism is not based on absolute truth.

But the emergent writers today aren't coming right out and saying so. They rely on personal stories of grappling and overcoming fear, guilt, and even psychological hangups physically manifested in addictions like alcoholism to tug on a reader's emotional heartstrings and slipping in ideas that would be rejected by the logical and intellectual contemplation of such superspirituality.

And when we believe that we can overcome, deny, and define our God, the natural objections that a set of true propositions from the Bible cannot be supported literally, objectively, and historically becomes not as objectional as we once thought. Truth is not objective or absolute but is socially contructed and inaccessible to universal reasoning. We begin to listen to the serpent's voice once again as he whispers in our ear, "Did God really say....." In our minds, the search for ultimate truth lies beyond words and doctrine to be something we can define ourselves to be ineffable. Absolute truth becomes something that we can change at our leisure, to fit our mood.

With an fuedian echo of past understanding, our ego isn't driven by a desire to fulfill that empty ache in our souls, to find the reason behind our feeling disconnected from the world as if we were designed for better, rather by fear of death or alienation according to our emergent friends. Yet the thing we apparently desire the most, relationship, also carries the most pain and hurt. We suffer and become wounded in a drive to 'be', supported by a drive leads us down paths born of duality between self (the ego) and oneness (being) according to the contemplative spirituality tool of the emergent.

We no longer believe that we cannot affect our world but rather we can control our world; there is no need for God. We are Masters of our world and nothing can happen within it that we do not allow ourselves. If something has gone wrong, it is us who have done it. Much like the Islamic claim of "there was no Jewish holocust", the emergent slaps across denominational lines with claims,"the Fall is a mythical story told for deeper 'universal truths' and nothing more." All we have to do, the contemplative spiritualists claim, realize that sin doesn't separate us across a gulf from God, rather we have always been 'one with God' or even Gods ourselves. There is nothing like sin and we are basically good people.

The new practice of contemplative spirituality is fraught with dangerous undertones for those who want to live a biblically-based faith. It is riddled with false teaching, abhorrant to the God as shown in the Bible. The fact that it is used by non-Christian movements only highlights these dangers. At the core of this emergent tool is meditation and "Contemplative" or "Centering prayer." The emergents who promote this point to several verses that call for the faithful to spend time in meditation. But there is a dangerously missing element to 'centering prayer' and 'meditation biblically.' Joshua 1:8 calls for us to "Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed."

Such specifics are ignored by the emergent 'contemplative prayer', in which you spend a specified period in prayer concluding with the Lord's Prayer or a favorite Psalm recited to give it that "Christian" flavor. This smacks dead against the admonishment Christ Himself gave us concerning prayer, "Jesus said, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do" (Matt 6:7)." The Lord's prayer is an example of the way we should pray, not some rote memorization that we repeat back to God daily. Any routine prayer repeated after each prayer session would soon fall under "vain repetitions.

Contemplative spirituality driven meditation focuses on nothing, with the exhortation placed on completely emptying one's mind, and just "be". This is contrary to the biblically stated purpose of mediation to "transform our mind to be that reflecting Christ's." Not to mention that Christ tells us to guard our minds against untruth. In CS, you are also encouraged through contemplative prayer to pursue a 'mystical experience with God', to believe that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experiences such as intuition and insights. Knowing God through His Word is no longer effective enough.....

From the Center for Contemplative Spirituality, we find the true purpose of this weapon of the Emergents, "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."

This 'reimagined' Gnostic religion is clothed in the christian-zeez of the Emergent movement and so has drawn in more and more evangelical Christians who haven't taken the time to look beyond the "Glittering Image" of the Eastern Religious movement. Instead of remember what is said in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, that: "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do," they allow themselves to see 'no real harm' in seeking God through mystical experiences. Faith and Fact take a back seat to the Eastern mysticism style of meditation.

Christianity that relies on the judaic example of contemplation of the texts of God's Word as we read them, as opposed to the transcedental practice of seeking God in the mystical realm of transcendental meditation. The belief of 'oneness' with God is not that far away from such thoughts from the universalist movement that has gone underground where we 'are God'.

Paul Proctor spoke of this emerging danger to the evangelical born-again church, in an article he published in 2006, "The greatest danger to the church today is not the atheist, the agnostic, the liberal, the humanist, the Marxist or even the Muslim extremist, but rather the "Christian" who subtly blends truth and lie resulting in a designer deity and discipline that finds common ground with the very enemies of Christ so as to become modish and marketable to the mainstream."

The seeker-sensitive pulpits of America have worked long and hard to erase the fear of the Lord, the Gospel of repentance, and absolute truth in an effort to be 'culturally sensitive' to those who no longer believe the Church is nothing more than an avenue to cozy truth, outward adultation and affirmation, and turning more and more inside instant gratification (instantly) and guidance. Once again, man is attempting to establish a religion that is based on mystical practices wrapped in Christian terminology to promote a panthesitic and panentheistic spirituality, where God is all and God is in all.

No longer do we have to worry about how the ridiculous idea of an all-encompassing religion can be established in the world. Tolerance, diversity, and unity to the universal occult of altered states of consciousness to bring understanding and truth as mystically defined by human minds are the path to such a one world religion and it is coming into being beneath our noses. David Steindl-Rast, a Roman Catholic contemplative, puts it this way in a 1992 article, "Envision the great religious traditions arranged on the circumference of a circle. At their mystical core they all say the same thing, but with different emphasis."

We haven't learned any lessons from our past.

Whenever humanity defines for itself the course of its own destiny, we go further and further from the reality of our desire. From the partaking of the forbidden fruit, the formation of Hinduism, Mormonism, Islamic faith, and the other varieties of humanistic religion, we continue to wander the desert.

If we stop and look to the Word, leaving the definition of our purpose in the hands of a Creator capable of creating a world and us, we find the answer to the unhuman need to .....

fulfill forever the eternal thirst of Truth.

No comments: