Author Topic: False teachings of Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality ...  (Read 8451 times)

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Offline Hobie

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We are seeing the spread of 'new' methods of spirituality which many people being swept into these teachings of non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and drawn into the emerging church movement in which they are promoted. Now lets take a look at who these megachurch centers that are teaching these non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation. The main center which clearly comes into the picture is Willow Creek or Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago which is an evangelical  association that runs workshops, conferences, and seminars.

I came across this ...

"Mystical spiritual formation practices are being taught not only in retreat centers and monasteries, but in evangelical Christian churches as well. Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois and Saddleback Church in California are two of the forerunners in evangelical spiritual formation teaching."

http://rekindlingthereformation.com/S-deception_Spiritual_Formation_American_Willow-Creek.html

The guru of this movement is Bill Hybel who for decades having been preaching to throw out everything you have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry, techniques to foster mere numeric growth. You may be surprised to learn that his mega-church has trained large numbers of our leaders and pastors in Willow Creek techniques of increasing church growth by spiritual formation and 'church growth' techniques, more "popular" music, and celebration-style activities during church service.

Here is another description...
 "Today however, there is a new approach to worship taking the Christian world by storm that, if followed, will lead the unwary straight away from the truth and into fables.....I am alarmed at the interest of God’s people in something called the “Emerging Church” and “spiritual formation.” What I am going to show you about it today should alarm you too. The Emerging Church movement is being promoted by megachurches such as those run by Rick Warren, of Purpose-Driven fame, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek, and many others.
The concepts are also entering the remnant Church through spiritual formation. And it is promoted by some of the most popular and respected preachers alive today. Their names are no doubt very familiar to you because you have probably heard of them in one way or another.


You have probably heard the old saying, “things aren’t what they seem.” That is also the case with the Emerging Church and spiritual formation. There are many nice-sounding terms that are used to make you believe that this is all Biblical and right.

The term “Emerging Church” or “emergent teachers” is used to describe this movement. “Contemplative prayer,” “meditation,” “discipling,” “discipleship,” “spiritual discipline,” “ancient-future worship,” “vintage worship,” “future church,” and many other similar phrases are also terms used in connection with the Emergent Church and spiritual formation. Some even disguise the whole thing by naming programs in spiritual formation with bland and generic terms like “growing in Christ.”

These seemingly wonderful concepts are very alluring to the uninformed and unaware. And while you may not hear all these words if the Emerging Church or spiritual formation movement comes to your church, you will certainly be introduced to the concepts behind them.

While words like disciple, meditation, and spiritual discipline have a true meaning, these words are being redefined and reintroduced into the Church with an entirely different meaning. Most people who hear them are not alarmed because many of these words are used in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy and they have heard them for years. Moreover, when these new concepts are promoted, they use many of the old terms that everyone is familiar with as a bridge into the new concepts.


Spiritual formation teachers promote something that is very familiar to anyone that understands the ecumenical movement that the Roman Catholic Church has promoted since the 1960s. Emerging Church leaders say that doctrine is not as important as your experience with Christ.

While we must have a daily experience with Christ, what they really mean is that doctrine is not important at all, and that we should not worry about, or discuss it.

Emerging Church leaders want all religions to blend together, and they are working with Rome to accomplish it. The trouble is that doctrine comes from Christ. And doctrine comes with Christ. If you remove the doctrines, you don’t have Christ. If you don’t believe Jesus’ teachings, or the teachings of those prophets through whom He spoke, you can’t say that you have a true relationship with Jesus.

The idea today is that we are to just accept everyone as part of Christ’s body no matter what they believe, and as we experience Christ together, doctrine will be less and less important. Today, evangelicals, formerly known as Protestants, are deeply involved in the ecumenical movement, which is designed to bring them back into unity with the Roman Catholic Church. This is also leading them into a “new spirituality” which is really just old Roman Catholic mystical spiritualism. 'http://amazingdiscoveries.org/AD-Magazine-Archive-Summer-2011-Spiritual-Formation

And this one really gets to the heart of the issue..

"The greatest danger to Christianity today is the downplaying of biblical doctrine. The Church is built upon the word of God given to the prophets and the apostles for leading people to Christ and for maturing believers in the faith.

True Christianity is not built on personal feeling or what you think God is saying to you because you learned to practice certain spiritual disciplines. Yet, that is what many Christian leaders and Christian education centers are teaching others.

Spiritual formation is taught and is required in almost all Christian higher leaning centers today and the graduates then teach it from pulpits, in seminars, and in Christian books.....many of the leading voices in the spiritual formation movement stress the need for more intuitive interpretations of spirituality. They encourage believers to incorporate a wide variety of extrabiblical spiritual practices, such as contemplative prayer, silence, meditation, creative expression, and yoga. In fact, some of the most popular methods of spiritual formation have been lifted from Catholicism, new age mysticism, or other religions and rebranded with biblical-sounding terminology.

But any kind of subjective spirituality that draws your focus away from the Lord and His truth can have disastrous results, derailing your spiritual growth and cutting you off from God’s plan for your sanctification.

All true spiritual growth starts with the preeminent role of God’s Word in the lives of His people.....
Spiritual Formation is identical to classic occultic meditation practices taught in Hinduism, Buddhism, wicca, paganism, etc. The technique goes something like this: find a quiet spot to sit or lie down, breathe deeply, and begin to focus on something for the purpose of stilling your thoughts. (The “something” can literally be almost anything: a candle, a word, a phrase, repetitive music, drumming, one’s own breath, etc.) After about 20 minutes of practicing this technique, which is simple to do, a person will enter into an altered state of consciousness. In this altered state of consciousness, the mind is no longer active and critically engaged, and able to assess data. In this state, the mind is passive, its God-given barriers down; it is able only to receive information, much like a radio receiver. Mystics from all faith traditions the world over often report ecstatic experiences of becoming yoked to some spiritual energy, leaving them feeling refreshed, energized, and peaceful after engaging in their mystical practices.

I am going to try to explain the issues of spiritual formation with its contemplative prayer so that everyone can understand. I think one reason people do not understand this stuff is all the fancy terminology used.

Either those identifying with Christ believe that God gave His revealed word once and for all through his written word or they think that God is still giving further revelation and it is up to each individual to learn how to obtain that new revelation and get into the ranks of the spiritually elite that hear His voice. (Of course the Pope, the Mormon Prophet and the self-appointed-anointed of the Charismatic Movement claim direct Revelation just by their position.)

The biblical path to God’s revelation means that God is sovereign and was fully able to give His inerrant unchangeable word for all people through His own chosen prophets and apostles. The second path to revelation means that God is dependent on our actions and is a respecter of persons that learn how to hear His “still small voice”.

They get this “still small voice” from 1 Ki 19:12. What they do not understand is that Elijah was a chosen prophet of God. And God spoke to Him quite distantly before, during and after this passage. So the passage is not saying what they read into it. Let me explain.

Elijah was on a very long fast because he was in fear for his life and was praying that God would judge Israel that killed all of Jehovah’s prophets and that were trying to kill him. God clearly spoke to Elijah while he was hiding in a cave and told him to go before the mount so that the nature of Jehovah could be reveled to him.

The message given was that God was not to be found in great natural events and catastrophic judgment that Elijah wanted but God was revealed in a “calm voice”. Then God told Elijah that he was to go to Syria and anoint Hazael as King of Syria and Hazael and Syria would severely chastise Israel in God’s own timing.

So this was God’s calm rational measured method to chastise unbelieving Israel rather than some national catastrophe like Elijah obvious was praying for and wanted to see in Jehovah. And why no instant catastrophe on Israel? Because there were thousands of people in Israel that still had not bowed their knee to Baal. People should not build theology about hearing from God on a verse that they do not understand.

We do not learn how to become Ezekiel and we do not hear God by mystical spiritual formation techniques. Some think they can learn to become prophets but they are wrong and these presumptions people are infecting Christendom with bad doctrine because gospel lite church leaders share media platforms with these heretics and even promote them.

I am one that thinks that everything we need to know for faith and practice can be found in the scriptures and that God speaks to us through His revealed word. That does not mean that the Holy Spirit can not enlighten us or impress upon our hearts spiritual direction but this spiritual guidance is not the same thing as the Rhema words of presumptions revelation that the hyper-charismatics and spiritual formation programs promote.

If these people were meditating on God’s written word, I would find no fault in that because we are clearly told to do that. However by learning spiritual formation techniques they are really trying to find God in their own mind instead of in His written word.

Through Spiritual formation techniques, the god or Jesus created by their own mind is self-made, or even worse, their god or Jesus may have been implanted in their mind by a deceiving spirit.

How many mystics have received revelation from the occult that they thought was coming from God? Even many of the great humanistic philosophers of the last few centuries communicated with familiar spirits...."

http://www.thepropheticyears.com/wordpress/spiritual-formation-is-gearing-the-church-up-for-self-delusion.html

So the alarm is being sounded on these false teachings, but still people are attracted to this false ideas and teachings, what is everyones thoughts?

Offline DaveW

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Hobie - your alarm is well placed with some of these practices.   But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

You are describing a "post-modern" modification trying to fix a true problem: intellectual Christianity devoid of true spirituality.  That has left many people high and dry spiritually. 

The Reformation came on the heels of the Enlightenment, and humanistic intellectualism became endemic to the core of the Reformation. Even the counter-reformation in the RCC took on the intellectualism of the day.

What we DON'T need is post-modernism.  What we need to correct the humanistic intellectualism is PRE-modernism.

HRoberson

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).

HRoberson

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Let's illustrate...

We are seeing the spread of 'new' methods of spirituality which many people being swept into these teachings of non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism
 
Here we hope the reader's mind will recoil that something is non-biblical, and it must be non-biblical because the author tells us it is. We read "mysticism" with the intent that these non-biblical practices are shrouded in occult-like secrecy and who knows what sorts of evil goings on there be.

Quote
such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer,
Here we have two of these non-biblical practices. Unfortunately, we don't know nor are we told what they entail. So far they are just labels.Now whenever we read those labels we are to again recoil in horror because while we don't know what they are, they have been declared non-biblical. Never mind that in their essence they are simply clearing one's mind of all the day to day chatter so as to be present to God or to hear Him more clearly. I'm not sure how that is non-biblical, but it is about as non-biblical as a Wednesday night prayer meeting or summer VBS.

Quote
and drawn into the emerging church movement in which they are promoted.
So the issue now is the evil emerging church movement. We all know that if an emergent does it, it must be suspect. Never mind that the emerging church movement also advocates charity, simple living, meeting with other believers, reading your Bible, and praying. If the emerging church has mentioned it and it sounds wierd, it must be evil.

And so it goes.

Quote
Now lets take a look at who these megachurch centers that are teaching these non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation. The main center which clearly comes into the picture is Willow Creek or Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago which is an evangelical  association that runs workshops, conferences, and seminars.

I came across this ...

"Mystical spiritual formation practices are being taught not only in retreat centers and monasteries, but in evangelical Christian churches as well. Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois and Saddleback Church in California are two of the forerunners in evangelical spiritual formation teaching."

http://rekindlingthereformation.com/S-deception_Spiritual_Formation_American_Willow-Creek.html

The guru of this movement is Bill Hybel who for decades having been preaching to throw out everything you have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry, techniques to foster mere numeric growth. You may be surprised to learn that his mega-church has trained large numbers of our leaders and pastors in Willow Creek techniques of increasing church growth by spiritual formation and 'church growth' techniques, more "popular" music, and celebration-style activities during church service.

Here is another description...
 "Today however, there is a new approach to worship taking the Christian world by storm that, if followed, will lead the unwary straight away from the truth and into fables.....I am alarmed at the interest of God’s people in something called the “Emerging Church” and “spiritual formation.” What I am going to show you about it today should alarm you too. The Emerging Church movement is being promoted by megachurches such as those run by Rick Warren, of Purpose-Driven fame, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek, and many others.
The concepts are also entering the remnant Church through spiritual formation. And it is promoted by some of the most popular and respected preachers alive today. Their names are no doubt very familiar to you because you have probably heard of them in one way or another.


You have probably heard the old saying, “things aren’t what they seem.” That is also the case with the Emerging Church and spiritual formation. There are many nice-sounding terms that are used to make you believe that this is all Biblical and right.

The term “Emerging Church” or “emergent teachers” is used to describe this movement. “Contemplative prayer,” “meditation,” “discipling,” “discipleship,” “spiritual discipline,” “ancient-future worship,” “vintage worship,” “future church,” and many other similar phrases are also terms used in connection with the Emergent Church and spiritual formation. Some even disguise the whole thing by naming programs in spiritual formation with bland and generic terms like “growing in Christ.”

These seemingly wonderful concepts are very alluring to the uninformed and unaware. And while you may not hear all these words if the Emerging Church or spiritual formation movement comes to your church, you will certainly be introduced to the concepts behind them.

While words like disciple, meditation, and spiritual discipline have a true meaning, these words are being redefined and reintroduced into the Church with an entirely different meaning. Most people who hear them are not alarmed because many of these words are used in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy and they have heard them for years. Moreover, when these new concepts are promoted, they use many of the old terms that everyone is familiar with as a bridge into the new concepts.


Spiritual formation teachers promote something that is very familiar to anyone that understands the ecumenical movement that the Roman Catholic Church has promoted since the 1960s. Emerging Church leaders say that doctrine is not as important as your experience with Christ.

While we must have a daily experience with Christ, what they really mean is that doctrine is not important at all, and that we should not worry about, or discuss it.

Emerging Church leaders want all religions to blend together, and they are working with Rome to accomplish it. The trouble is that doctrine comes from Christ. And doctrine comes with Christ. If you remove the doctrines, you don’t have Christ. If you don’t believe Jesus’ teachings, or the teachings of those prophets through whom He spoke, you can’t say that you have a true relationship with Jesus.

The idea today is that we are to just accept everyone as part of Christ’s body no matter what they believe, and as we experience Christ together, doctrine will be less and less important. Today, evangelicals, formerly known as Protestants, are deeply involved in the ecumenical movement, which is designed to bring them back into unity with the Roman Catholic Church. This is also leading them into a “new spirituality” which is really just old Roman Catholic mystical spiritualism. 'http://amazingdiscoveries.org/AD-Magazine-Archive-Summer-2011-Spiritual-Formation

And this one really gets to the heart of the issue..

"The greatest danger to Christianity today is the downplaying of biblical doctrine. The Church is built upon the word of God given to the prophets and the apostles for leading people to Christ and for maturing believers in the faith.

True Christianity is not built on personal feeling or what you think God is saying to you because you learned to practice certain spiritual disciplines. Yet, that is what many Christian leaders and Christian education centers are teaching others.

Spiritual formation is taught and is required in almost all Christian higher leaning centers today and the graduates then teach it from pulpits, in seminars, and in Christian books.....many of the leading voices in the spiritual formation movement stress the need for more intuitive interpretations of spirituality. They encourage believers to incorporate a wide variety of extrabiblical spiritual practices, such as contemplative prayer, silence, meditation, creative expression, and yoga. In fact, some of the most popular methods of spiritual formation have been lifted from Catholicism, new age mysticism, or other religions and rebranded with biblical-sounding terminology.

But any kind of subjective spirituality that draws your focus away from the Lord and His truth can have disastrous results, derailing your spiritual growth and cutting you off from God’s plan for your sanctification.

All true spiritual growth starts with the preeminent role of God’s Word in the lives of His people.....
Spiritual Formation is identical to classic occultic meditation practices taught in Hinduism, Buddhism, wicca, paganism, etc. The technique goes something like this: find a quiet spot to sit or lie down, breathe deeply, and begin to focus on something for the purpose of stilling your thoughts. (The “something” can literally be almost anything: a candle, a word, a phrase, repetitive music, drumming, one’s own breath, etc.) After about 20 minutes of practicing this technique, which is simple to do, a person will enter into an altered state of consciousness. In this altered state of consciousness, the mind is no longer active and critically engaged, and able to assess data. In this state, the mind is passive, its God-given barriers down; it is able only to receive information, much like a radio receiver. Mystics from all faith traditions the world over often report ecstatic experiences of becoming yoked to some spiritual energy, leaving them feeling refreshed, energized, and peaceful after engaging in their mystical practices.

I am going to try to explain the issues of spiritual formation with its contemplative prayer so that everyone can understand. I think one reason people do not understand this stuff is all the fancy terminology used.

Either those identifying with Christ believe that God gave His revealed word once and for all through his written word or they think that God is still giving further revelation and it is up to each individual to learn how to obtain that new revelation and get into the ranks of the spiritually elite that hear His voice. (Of course the Pope, the Mormon Prophet and the self-appointed-anointed of the Charismatic Movement claim direct Revelation just by their position.)

The biblical path to God’s revelation means that God is sovereign and was fully able to give His inerrant unchangeable word for all people through His own chosen prophets and apostles. The second path to revelation means that God is dependent on our actions and is a respecter of persons that learn how to hear His “still small voice”.

They get this “still small voice” from 1 Ki 19:12. What they do not understand is that Elijah was a chosen prophet of God. And God spoke to Him quite distantly before, during and after this passage. So the passage is not saying what they read into it. Let me explain.

Elijah was on a very long fast because he was in fear for his life and was praying that God would judge Israel that killed all of Jehovah’s prophets and that were trying to kill him. God clearly spoke to Elijah while he was hiding in a cave and told him to go before the mount so that the nature of Jehovah could be reveled to him.

The message given was that God was not to be found in great natural events and catastrophic judgment that Elijah wanted but God was revealed in a “calm voice”. Then God told Elijah that he was to go to Syria and anoint Hazael as King of Syria and Hazael and Syria would severely chastise Israel in God’s own timing.

So this was God’s calm rational measured method to chastise unbelieving Israel rather than some national catastrophe like Elijah obvious was praying for and wanted to see in Jehovah. And why no instant catastrophe on Israel? Because there were thousands of people in Israel that still had not bowed their knee to Baal. People should not build theology about hearing from God on a verse that they do not understand.

We do not learn how to become Ezekiel and we do not hear God by mystical spiritual formation techniques. Some think they can learn to become prophets but they are wrong and these presumptions people are infecting Christendom with bad doctrine because gospel lite church leaders share media platforms with these heretics and even promote them.

I am one that thinks that everything we need to know for faith and practice can be found in the scriptures and that God speaks to us through His revealed word. That does not mean that the Holy Spirit can not enlighten us or impress upon our hearts spiritual direction but this spiritual guidance is not the same thing as the Rhema words of presumptions revelation that the hyper-charismatics and spiritual formation programs promote.

If these people were meditating on God’s written word, I would find no fault in that because we are clearly told to do that. However by learning spiritual formation techniques they are really trying to find God in their own mind instead of in His written word.

Through Spiritual formation techniques, the god or Jesus created by their own mind is self-made, or even worse, their god or Jesus may have been implanted in their mind by a deceiving spirit.

How many mystics have received revelation from the occult that they thought was coming from God? Even many of the great humanistic philosophers of the last few centuries communicated with familiar spirits...."

http://www.thepropheticyears.com/wordpress/spiritual-formation-is-gearing-the-church-up-for-self-delusion.html

So the alarm is being sounded on these false teachings, but still people are attracted to this false ideas and teachings, what is everyones thoughts?

Offline Hobie

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Hobie - your alarm is well placed with some of these practices.   But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

You are describing a "post-modern" modification trying to fix a true problem: intellectual Christianity devoid of true spirituality.  That has left many people high and dry spiritually. 

The Reformation came on the heels of the Enlightenment, and humanistic intellectualism became endemic to the core of the Reformation. Even the counter-reformation in the RCC took on the intellectualism of the day.

What we DON'T need is post-modernism.  What we need to correct the humanistic intellectualism is PRE-modernism.
Would you agree with this...

Premodernism (Beginnings up to 1650's)

Epistemology. The primary epistemology of the premodern period was based upon revealed knowledge from authoritative sources. In premodern times it was believed that Ultimate Truth could be known and the way to this knowledge is through direct revelation. This direct revelation was generally assumed to come from God or a god.

Sources of Authority. The church, being the holders and interpreters of revealed knowledge, were the primary authority source in premodern time. Additionally,

Modernism (1650-1950's)

Epistemology. Two new approaches to knowing became dominant in the modern period. The first was empiricism (knowing through the senses) which gradually evolved into scientific empiricism or modern science with the development of modernist methodology. The second epistemological approach of this period was reason or logic. Often, science and reason were collaboratively or in conjunction with each other.

Sources of Authority. As the shift in power moved away from the church, politics (governments, kings, etc.) and universities (scholars, professors) took over as the primary sources of authority. Oftentimes, a religious perspective was integrated into these modern authority sources, but the church no longer enjoyed the privilidged power position.

Postmodernism (1950's to current times)

Epistemology. Postmodenism brought with it a quesioning of the previous approaches to knowing. Instead of relying on one approach to knowing, they advocate for an epistemological pluralism which utilizes multiple ways of knowing. This can include the premodern ways (revelation) and modern ways (sceince & reason), along with many other ways of knowing such as intuition, relational, and spiritual.

Sources of Authority. Postmodern approaches seek to deconstruct previous authority sources and power. Because power is distrusted, they attempt to set up a less hierarchial approach in which authority sources are more diffuse.

http://www.postmodernpsychology.com/Philosophical_Systems/Overview.htm

Offline Hobie

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.

HRoberson

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.
The information in the OP is simplistic and shallow propaganda. Nothing more.

Offline Hobie

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.
The information in the OP is simplistic and shallow propaganda. Nothing more.
Well, when you are confronted by it, live and in person, it may be simplistic, but its first hand and present truth.

HRoberson

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.
The information in the OP is simplistic and shallow propaganda. Nothing more.
Well, when you are confronted by it, live and in person, it may be simplistic, but its first hand and present truth.
I am not saying you haven't met some screwy people. I am saying the article is trash.

Offline Hobie

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.
The information in the OP is simplistic and shallow propaganda. Nothing more.
Well, when you are confronted by it, live and in person, it may be simplistic, but its first hand and present truth.
I am not saying you haven't met some screwy people. I am saying the article is trash.
Fair enough, I will check on this and do my research and present what I find so we can see the truth of the matter.

Offline Amo

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.
The information in the OP is simplistic and shallow propaganda. Nothing more.
Well, when you are confronted by it, live and in person, it may be simplistic, but its first hand and present truth.
I am not saying you haven't met some screwy people. I am saying the article is trash.
Fair enough, I will check on this and do my research and present what I find so we can see the truth of the matter.

Your continued examination of the issue will only confirm your concerns and reveal the dangers involved.

Offline Hobie

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The OP is nothing but shallow alarmist propaganda which uses knee-jerk buzz words with no or very little substance. It is in fact one of the most reactionary pieces of writings on the topic I have read (other than perhaps the websites from which it is taken).
No, several of the churchs on my wife island have picked this up and some on the mainland, and as DaveW points out lost their direction and became devoid of true spirituality.
The information in the OP is simplistic and shallow propaganda. Nothing more.
Well, when you are confronted by it, live and in person, it may be simplistic, but its first hand and present truth.
I am not saying you haven't met some screwy people. I am saying the article is trash.
Fair enough, I will check on this and do my research and present what I find so we can see the truth of the matter.


Your continued examination of the issue will only confirm your concerns and reveal the dangers involved.
But what appears on the surface sometimes needs to be uncovered to see what lies underneath, and see what it is based on.

What is Spiritual Formation? Spiritual formation, otherwise known as contemplative spirituality, comes directly from the Jesuits ...... It is “Ignatian Spirituality” invented by Ignatius Loyola and is full of spiritualism." - Keep the Faith Ministry, from their article  Spiritual Formation, a Required Course in Accredited Seminaries.

So lets look and see where it is being taught and start with that, what is called the 'emerging church movement'.The emerging/emergent church movement is hard to pin down but is a label used to describe spiritual, so called revival practices being implemented across the spectrum of churches. But if you look you see they are using forms of mystical worship and spiritual disciplines which we have seen before. We find that Ignatius Loyola wrote extensively on these mystical practices of contemplative/centering prayer and spiritual formation and brought it as a tool to use in the Counter Reformation.
 
In how Ignatius Loyola taught it, spiritual formation was a methodology for using a spiritual director to guide you in your spiritual disciplines. The guide, because they are on a higher level of spirituality, is not to be questioned but followed.  At the journeys start the practices have different names, they come in packages that emphasizes the attractiveness of the good things it promises. But where does it take you, what is the end result.
 
The true Biblical teaching of spiritual growth is one of reasoning, thinking, Bible study and prayer, led by the Holy Spirit.  Line upon line, precept upon precept, not on control techniques and disciplines taught by man. We need to look closely at what is being brought into the Adventist church.
 
 I also came across a book recommended to me which everyone should read its called 'The Omega Rebellion' by SDA retired pastor Rick Howard . It speaks directly to the spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, and the emergent church and how they relate to each other. Those Christians who were once involved in the New Age movement and or the Occult are very attuned to these issues because the are uniquely qualified to recognize it for what it is. Rick Howard is among this group of former New Agers. He shows how contemplative prayer is the same as the transcendental meditation just with a changed name.Here is one Ellen White quote the author used when the Adventist church was facing the same heresies a hundred years ago when they were going through the Kellogg debacle.

" We need not the mysticism that is in this book (Kellogg's book). Those who entertain these sophistries will soon find themselves in a position where the enemy can talk to them, and lead them away from God."

The book speaks about the Seventh day Adventist Church and the efforts, that Satan applies in order to replace the pillars of Adventism which Adventists believe with so called new spirituality. Because Rick Howard personally studied and practiced a number of mystical teachings while he wasn't a Christian yet, so in this book he can speak on the subject with authority.

Spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, "lectio divina" and all other teachings and techniques, used for implementing this new spirituality into the ranks of seventh day Adventist, according to the author, are nothing else but modification of the ancient occult practices.
 
Here is something I came across that gives some light on this issue...it is on the Facebook page for 'Spiritual Formation'.
 
http://www.facebook.com/events/208325265908521/
 
 
'From John the Evangelist and Paul the Apostle to Thomas Merton and Evelyn Underhill, Christianity has been blessed by a variety of men and women, clergy and laypersons, Catholics and Protestants, known as mystics — persons who have had profound and life-changing experiences of the presence of God, and even of union with God. But do the great mystics have anything to say to us today?

This program will introduce you to some of the greatest Christian mystics, from well-known figures like Francis of Assisi and... Julian of Norwich to lesser known (but important) individuals like John Cassian and Jan Ruusbroec. We’ll look at some of their key writings, reflect on the major themes and principles of Christian mysticism, explore how their teachings on prayer can be applied in our lives today, and discuss how we can apply their wisdom to Christian discipleship here in the third millennium. Our schedule will include presentations, small group discussion, shared silence and prayer, and time for journaling and personal reflection.'
 
and a few other things I came across...
 
Question: "What is the spiritual formation movement?"

Answer: The spiritual formation movement is very popular today. It is, however, in many ways a move away from the truth of God's Word to a mystical form of Christianity, and it has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. This idea of spiritual formation is based on the premise that if we do certain practices, we can be more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within themselves.

Too often, adherents of the current spiritual formation movement believe the spiritual disciplines transform the seeker by his or her entering an altered realm of consciousness. The spiritual formation movement is characterized by such things as contemplative prayer, contemplative spirituality, and Christian mysticism.

 
Note the following...
..The Practice offers Saturday morning meetings which provide a rhythm of worship, teaching on a particular spiritual discipline and time to experience or "practice" that discipline. This practice time allows participants to get a fuller understanding of how to incorporate the discipline in their daily lives." Spiritual Formation at Willow Creek

Now it has even come into Adventist churches which has caused great concern and Derek J. Morris, then Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology at Southern College of Seventh-day Adventists, (more recently a pastor in California) advocated and produced a paper calling for Spiritual Formation, but has seen its true purpose and now is teaching on the dangers. Here is some of what he wrote:

Morris Credits Jesuits With Preserving Spiritual Direction

Derek writes, “For much of the Christian era the practice of spiritual direction was confined to Catholicism, particularly monasticism and the Society of Jesus [the Jesuits]. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in spiritual direction as a resource for spiritual formation among both Catholics and Protestants. A leading Protestant advocate of spiritual formation is Tilden Edwards, director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C. [CC note:  Shalem is staffed with Roman Catholic nuns who are experts in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola,founder of the Jesuits, with Episcopal priests, psychiatrists, etc.] ….
http://endrtimes.blogspot.com/2011/01/gc-imposes-spiritual-formation-globally.html

Now we see that the President of the GC says the following, "Don't reach out to movements or megachurch centers outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church which promise you spiritual success based on faulty theology. Stay away from non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and the emerging church movement in which they are promoted."
 
One of the driving force behind these megachurches and movements is Willow Creek. Here is what I came across on Willow Creek:
 
It was founded on October 12, 1975 by Bill Hybels, who is currently the senior pastor. The church has three weekend services averaging 24,000 attendees, making it the third-largest church in the United States (this ranking includes multi-site churches).The church has been listed as the most influential church in America the last several years in a national poll of pastors.
 
..from Adventist Today and other sites:
 
'In the last 15 years or so, New Spirituality (or "emerging church, "spiritual formation," etc.) by whatever name its followers choose, has flooded Protestantism, especially Evangelical churches. In the last 5-7 years, the waves have been rolling over many in the Adventist Church.

We all know well how, for the last 25 years, ministerial excitement and tons of Adventist money has focused on Willow Creek in Barrington, IL, and Saddleback in Lake Forest, CA. Enormous numbers of Protestant pastors studied how to invigorate their churches with the seeker-friendly methods.
 
The guru of this movement is Bill Hybel who for decades having been preaching to throw out everything you have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry, techniques to foster mere numeric growth. You may be surprised to learn that his mega-church has trained large numbers of our leaders and pastors in Willow Creek techniques of increasing church growth by spiritual formation and 'church growth' techniques, more "popular" music, and celebration-style activities during church service.
http://www.sdadefend.com/Books-new-order/Connections.htm
 
 all started when Pastor Kallestad attended a conference that included church leaders like Bill Hybels and Rick Warren and learned about designing ministries for those who had been turned off by traditional churches. A natural evangelist, Kallestad ate it up and became committed to an approach he called, “entertainment evangelism”: “The only way to capture people’s attention is entertainment, I thought. If I want people to listen to my message, I’ve got to present it in a way that grabs their attention long enough for me to communicate the gospel.”



So our church strategy revolved around the gravitational force of entertainment for evangelism. We hired the best musicians we could afford; we used marketing principles and programming specialists—for the gospel’s sake. Attendance skyrocketed. More people meant more staff, more programs, more facilities, more land, and of course the need for more money. We became a program-driven church attracting consumers looking for the latest and greatest religious presentations.

However, after years of running the “show,” Kallestad became personally burned out and disillusioned by the results. He had built a great church organization, but the church was not producing disciples.


Our church was a great organization. But something was missing. We weren’t accomplishing our mission; we weren’t creating transformed, empowered disciples.

We’d put all our energies into dispensing religious goods and services. But our people weren’t touching our community. If our church, with its sheer number of people, was populated with disciples, we would be feeding the hungry, building meaningful relationships with neighbors, and transforming our community. But we were neither salt nor light.

After pouring more than 25 years of my life into this church, I knew we weren’t developing disciples who were taking up their crosses to follow Jesus. We’d produced consumers—like Pac- Man, gobbling up religious experiences, navigating a maze but going nowhere in particular.

Too many were observing the show but not meeting God. They meandered in and out of relationships but weren’t in real community. They sought their spiritual fix but didn’t give themselves fully to Christ.http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/two-churches-that-closed-down-the-show



...Recently, Willow Creek published the results of their 2004 congregational survey entitled, Reveal: Where are You? The surprising results required the study’s authors, including executive pastor Greg Hawkins, to tell senior pastor Bill Hybel that “the church isn’t as effective as we’d thought.” In the Forward to the report, Bill Hybels makes an astonishing [and I think humble] admission, “…parts of the research did not shine brightly on our church. Among the findings, nearly one out of every four people at Willow Creek were stalled in their spiritual growth or dissatisfied with the church—and many of them were considering leaving.”

In the report, Willow Creek acknowledges that they have long-employed the “The Church Activity Model for Spiritual Growth.” Essentially, the premise was that as “a person far from God participates in church activities” they will eventually become “a person who loves God and loves others.” Now, this could mean any activity--whether it be directing traffic in the parking lot or volunteering in the nursery. I call this the “faith by osmosis” approach—the idea that as long as people are in the church environment, they will grow spiritually.

To their credit, Willow Creek asks and answers the question as follows: “Does increased attendance in ministry programs automatically equate to spiritual growth? To be brutally honest: it does not. …Church activity alone made no direct impact on growing the heart…”
http://www.adventistreview.org/article/1513/archives/issue-2007-1533/willow-creek-s-confession
 
The real origin is clearly not of Protestant or any of the Reformers or from scripture, so Protestant ministers and leaders need to look closely and see what it is and what is its purpose and decide what they should do accordingly.

HRoberson

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I will dissect this paragraph by paragraph, but not until this evening. But until then, let's start at the bottom and begin our tutorial.

Quote
The real origin is clearly not of Protestant or any of the Reformers or from scripture, so Protestant ministers and leaders need to look closely and see what it is and what is its purpose and decide what they should do accordingly.
What does the author do here? A simple propagandistic ploy of trying to cement his argument on the basis of "us" and "them." It is in fact, just another form of an ad hominem statement. It works this way: appeal to an emotional reaction in your audience so that the substance of both your and your opponent is ignored; basing your appeal on your audience's fear that "they" are different and should be considered suspect. There is no substance in this summary paragraph, simply a "warning." Classic really.

Even while deploring the development of the disliked topic as not-Protestant and thereby presumably suspect Roman Catholicism, the author fails to understand that Protestantism itself is a product of Roman Catholicism, springing from the very heart as it were of the Holy Roman Empire.

But what else have non-Protestants given us? Little things like our canon, various creeds and with them defined both heresies and the Christian faith, periodic movements to return the church to a closer relationship with God, increases in personal faith and practice, and other things on which Protestantism itself is dependent.

We are to be suspect of spiritual formation because it isn't Protestant. This is the height of arrogance and its appeal to the readers' reaction to a "them" is classic propaganda technique.

It is in short, political tripe.
« Last Edit: Sun Aug 04, 2013 - 08:43:46 by HRoberson »

Offline Amo

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I will dissect this paragraph by paragraph, but not until this evening. But until then, let's start at the bottom and begin our tutorial.

Quote
The real origin is clearly not of Protestant or any of the Reformers or from scripture, so Protestant ministers and leaders need to look closely and see what it is and what is its purpose and decide what they should do accordingly.
What does the author do here? A simple propagandistic ploy of trying to cement his argument on the basis of "us" and "them." It is in fact, just another form of an ad hominem statement. It works this way: appeal to an emotional reaction in your audience so that the substance of both your and your opponent is ignored; basing your appeal on your audience's fear that "they" are different and should be considered suspect. There is no substance in this summary paragraph, simply a "warning." Classic really.

Even while deploring the development of the disliked topic as not-Protestant and thereby presumably suspect Roman Catholicism, the author fails to understand that Protestantism itself is a product of Roman Catholicism, springing from the very heart as it were of the Holy Roman Empire.

But what else have non-Protestants given us? Little things like our canon, various creeds and with them defined both heresies and the Christian faith, periodic movements to return the church to a closer relationship with God, increases in personal faith and practice, and other things on which Protestantism itself is dependent.

We are to be suspect of spiritual formation because it isn't Protestant. This is the height of arrogance and its appeal to the readers' reaction to a "them" is classic propaganda technique.

It is in short, political tripe.

Just out of curiosity HR, do you practice spiritual formation? Do you have a mentor, and practice contemplative prayer?


HRoberson

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Paragraph, the first:


Quote
What is Spiritual Formation? Spiritual formation, otherwise known as contemplative spirituality, comes directly from the Jesuits ...... It is “Ignatian Spirituality” invented by Ignatius Loyola and is full of spiritualism." - Keep the Faith......
Simply, none of the assertions in this paragraph are true. Let's look....

"Spiritual formation, otherwise known as contemplative spirituality...."
Spiritual formation is a much broader concept than simple contemplative spirituality, and people who equate the two simply don't know what they are talking about. Spiritual formation simply means the intentional development of one's spiritual life. It is intended as a complement (sometimes a corrective) to "normal" church life.

"Comes directly from the Jesuits.....It is "Ignatian Spirituality" invented by......"
Simply wrong. A simple review of history would have revealed as much. Spiritual formation can be seen through Scripture. Perhaps the most famous application can be found in Deuteronomy 6, in the recitation of the Shema. Spiritual formation, or the maturing and shaping of people in the manner of the Spirit is exactly what Jesus was attempting with his disciples, and is nothing less than what Paul urges for his readers. Other forms of spiritual formation are known as "Sunday School," and "preaching."

The Jesuits don't come along until almost the same time as the Protestants, actually. By that time, in the post-Apostolic church, spiritual formation had been ongoing since as early as the second century. This can be seen in ancient documents such as the Didache, and in writings about various solitary Christians, or those who live in loosely-bound communities.

Why did our author make this gaff? I suspect because the Jesuits are known (supposedly) to be the mean guys in the Catholic Church. Ruthless enforcers of the faith. This then is another attempt to scare or cause an emotional reaction in the readers. It is patently false and 15 seconds of checking would have revealed as much. Apparently, accuracy isn't what we are after.

"...and is full of spiritualism."
Again, completely false, especially since we tie the statement to Ignatian Spirituality. Whoever wrote that does not know what Ignatian spirituality is. Either that, or they are simply making bald-faced lies to evoke emotional reactions. But let's look at that word "spiritualism." Why that word? Doesn't that conjure (no pun intended) up spooks, and seances, secret rituals in our minds? I suspect that is exactly what the author's intent was. So, we haven't looked at Ignatian spirituality, but we have labeled it as "spiritualism."

So we have reviewed the first paragraph and have found that it contains little to know truth and it attempts to tie spiritual formation to the occult, in order to evoke a knee jerk emotional response in the reader.

As I said, propagandistic, political tripe.
« Last Edit: Mon Aug 05, 2013 - 23:17:15 by HRoberson »

HRoberson

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Paragraph the second.


Quote
So lets look and see where it is being taught and start with that, what is called the 'emerging church movement'.The emerging/emergent church movement is hard to pin down but is a label used to describe spiritual, so called revival practices being implemented across the spectrum of churches. But if you look you see they are using forms of mystical worship and spiritual disciplines which we have seen before. We find that Ignatius Loyola wrote extensively on these mystical practices of contemplative/centering prayer and spiritual formation and brought it as a tool to use in the Counter Reformation.
"is hard to pin down."
Yes, it is. Why? Because there really isn't anything definitive about it. It's like saying "Protestant." All you really know is that somebody doesn't like Catholics. Beyond that, there is precious little to "pin down."


"...a label used to describe spiritual, so called revival practices....."
It actually refers to much more than that, especially if we use the qualifier "spiritual." The emergent church movement is actually a spin off of the "missional church" movement. Both are attempts to refocus the greater church back on Jesus and his mission in the world. To look at Jesus, and try to live as we see that he did. It is a reaction to stuffy, self-righteous, religious do-gooders who practice Sunday-morning Christianity.


"...using forms of mystical worship and spiritual disciplines which we have seen before."
More buzz words designed to evoke emotional responses in the readers. What exactly, is a mystical worship form? Another attempt to link whatever it is these emergents are doing to the occult without offering any support whatever. Are you beginning to see how this works?


Which spiritual disciplines have we seen before? We don't know, but we are supposed to just go with the statement and assume that whatever they are, they must be Satanic. But again, no substantive specific information.


"Ignatius wrote extensively....."
Well, yes he did. Finally some accuracy in the article. It took us half way through the second paragraph, and after a series of gaffs, misstatements, and political nuancing of the story. What do we not have in the last half of this paragraph? Yes, you have guessed it! Nothing of substance that would tell us that whatever Ignatius wrote is something to be afraid of.







HRoberson

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Paragraph the third:


Quote
In how Ignatius Loyola taught it, spiritual formation was a methodology for using a spiritual director to guide you in your spiritual disciplines. The guide, because they are on a higher level of spirituality, is not to be questioned but followed.  At the journeys start the practices have different names, they come in packages that emphasizes the attractiveness of the good things it promises. But where does it take you, what is the end result.



"In How Ignatius...taught it....using a spiritual director to guide you in your spiritual disciplines."
Well, this much is true. Spiritual formation is often associated with spiritual directors, but this is hardly suspect. Who else would be most appropriate for a fledgling Christian than a more mature one? Isn't this in fact the actual role of a pastor? Or perhaps a mentor? Or an accountability partner?


But the problem is that this director is to be followed and not questioned. Well, yes, as far as his or her role goes. The director isn't going to tell you to take off your clothes, who to marry, how many kids you have, or any such thing. And, before the director gives you any sort of assignment, do you know what they do? They pray with you, and for you, and listen to both you and the Spirit. What is going to the directive that your director assigns? By and large, it's going to involve prayer as the linchpin of your activity. Might there be other activities assigned? Sure, but they aren't going to be "mystical" or related to conjuring spirits.


Where might you get a spiritual director? Does she just show up at your door and start ordering you around? No. You pick her. After interviewing her and making sure that the two of you are a good match, much like you might do for a pastoral counselor at church. In fact, if she is worth her salt, that pastoral counselor at church is going to act like a spiritual director. And, just like that pastoral counselor, you can fire a spiritual director without "permission." Except that in some churches, if you fire your pastoral counselor, you may well be blackballed for not being serious enough.


"But where does it take you; what is the end result?"
Could we come up with a more ominous brace of questions? Can you see and feel the darkness settling in? Can you hear the music being cued?

HRoberson

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Paragraph the fourth:


Quote
The true Biblical teaching of spiritual growth is one of reasoning, thinking, Bible study and prayer, led by the Holy Spirit.  Line upon line, precept upon precept, not on control techniques and disciplines taught by man. We need to look closely at what is being brought into the Adventist church.   


"...not on control techniques and disciplines taught by man."
My, my. It seems almost yesterday the entire evangelical world was atwitter about quiet times, and prayer partners, and oh yes, regular church attendance. Yes, disciplines are certainly suspect; yes they are! Have we gotten any substantive description that we can sink our teeth into about the dreaded spiritual formation, spiritual directors, or spiritual disciplines? Sadly, and predictably, no. Why? Because the author doesn't want to give you any specifics. What he wants is for you to buy, hook, line and sinker, his appeal to emotion about something the author has demonstrably little real knowledge about.


The author cautions you about being controlled by man while at the same time trying to control your behavior through emotional reactivity.


Have I said that this is political tripe yet?


HRoberson

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Paragraph the fifth:


Quote
I also came across a book recommended to me which everyone should read its called 'The Omega Rebellion' by SDA retired pastor Rick Howard . It speaks directly to the spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, and the emergent church and how they relate to each other. Those Christians who were once involved in the New Age movement and or the Occult are very attuned to these issues because the are uniquely qualified to recognize it for what it is. Rick Howard is among this group of former New Agers. He shows how contemplative prayer is the same as the transcendental meditation just with a changed name.Here is one Ellen White quote the author used when the Adventist church was facing the same heresies a hundred years ago when they were going through the Kellogg debacle.
I cannot begin to worry about the internal shenanigans of the Adventist Church and so I will not engage those specifics. I will observe however, that simply telling me about a book that speaks to something you already don't like and haven't demonstrated much knowledge of is impressive. Human beings who have been in the New Age movement and/or the occult do not know any more about spiritual formation than the author of this article does. Saying..."contemplative prayer is the same as the transcendental meditation just with a changed name," amounts to absolute no substance whatsoever. It is exactly parallel to saying that Christian prayer is the same as Buddhist prayer but with a changed name.


Hogwash.


I have no idea what the Kellogg debacle was, but I do notice that we've brought in the big guns now. And what are we about to do? Take the writings of some woman as definitive in spiritual matters. What did we just say in the previous paragraph? Something about the teachings of men and how we should avoid them? Does the fact that this person is female, make it any more palatable to accept what she ways without question?


How silly.




HRoberson

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Paragraph the seventh:


(I have omitted the sixth paragraph because it's just a quote from some woman)
Quote
Because Rick Howard personally studied and practiced a number of mystical teachings while he wasn't a Christian yet, so in this book he can speak on the subject with authority.
This conclusion is not a given. Just because Rick Howard used to flay children alive in sacrifice to Satan (I'm making that up; I have no idea what Rick Howard's experiences are), does not mean he knows one iota about Christian spiritual formation, the emergent church, or whether anyone should have a spiritual director. Do you see what the author has done here? He has already assumed, and is drilling into your head, that Christian spiritual formation is akin to the occult, and by this time he assumes you are just going to go along with him. Therefore, he feels no compulsion to make statements which have any sense of logic about them.


Tripe.








HRoberson

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Paragraph the eighth:


Quote
Spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, "lectio divina" and all other teachings and techniques, used for implementing this new spirituality into the ranks of seventh day Adventist, according to the author, are nothing else but modification of the ancient occult practices.


"....all other teachings and techniques....are nothing else but modifications of ... occult practices."


Again, Christian prayer is the same as Buddhist prayer under a new name. This is the essence of this statement. No substance, no description of what any of these "teachings and techniques" are, except that the author doesn't want you using anyone else as a spiritual expert other than some relatively late coming woman.


But, we're told this is "according to the author." Well, that makes it acceptable then, because the author is an expert in occult practices. The problem of course, is that we haven't demonstrated that he's an expert in Christian practices.


We have no reason whatever to listen to either the book author or the author of the article we are examining.

HRoberson

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Some more.....


Quote
'From John the Evangelist and Paul the Apostle to Thomas Merton and Evelyn Underhill, Christianity has been blessed by a variety of men and women, clergy and laypersons, Catholics and Protestants, known as mystics — persons who have had profound and life-changing experiences of the presence of God, and even of union with God. But do the great mystics have anything to say to us today?This program will introduce you to some of the greatest Christian mystics, from well-known figures like Francis of Assisi and... Julian of Norwich to lesser known (but important) individuals like John Cassian and Jan Ruusbroec. We’ll look at some of their key writings, reflect on the major themes and principles of Christian mysticism, explore how their teachings on prayer can be applied in our lives today, and discuss how we can apply their wisdom to Christian discipleship here in the third millennium. Our schedule will include presentations, small group discussion, shared silence and prayer, and time for journaling and personal reflection.'

What is there to object to in this paragraph? Surely there must be something; I wonder what it is? Oh! There it is! That word "mystic." Sounds a lot like "mysterious," doesn't it? Clearly something to be warry of no doubt. Does it not matter that God actually uses the word "mystery" when he talks to us? Since the author has not demonstrated any ability to tell us exactly why we should be worried about all this stuff, we cannot be sure that he actually understands the word "mystic" or what it might or might not mean in any given context.


Or perhaps, it's the phrase, "union with God" that is suspect? Perhaps. But before we get too wrapped up in our witch hunt, let's first acknowledge that Scripture speaks to union with God. With words like, "let the fullness of Christ dwell in you," or perhaps "the Father and I will come and abide with you." Sounds a lot like union to me - you and God in the same space. Now the problem of course is that in the run of the mill Christian mystic tradition, there isn't really an understanding of becoming one in substance with God - not at all. But the author, I suspect, doesn't know the difference or how the phrase is understood. He just wants you to react to it.


HRoberson

  • Guest
Yet some more foolishness:


[quote]Question: "What is the spiritual formation movement?"Answer: The spiritual formation movement is very popular today. It is, however, in many ways a move away from the truth of God's Word to a mystical form of Christianity, and it has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. This idea of spiritual formation is based on the premise that if we do certain practices, we can be more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within themselves.Too often, adherents of the current spiritual formation movement believe the spiritual disciplines transform the seeker by his or her entering an altered realm of consciousness. The spiritual formation movement is characterized by such things as contemplative prayer, contemplative spirituality, and Christian mysticism.



"...any many ways a move away from the truth...."
Unfortunately, we have no idea in what sorts of ways. We simply have an assertion. Does it matter to the author that I feel the same way about the Adventist movement and their supposed prophetess?


"...toward a mystical form of Christianity...."
Do you see what he's done there? He has juxtaposed the "truth" with "mystical," making the assertion that if it's mystical, it cannot be truth. Again, we don't know how or why this is, it just is. And the author expects that you will continue to make that juxtaposition every time you read 'mystical.'


"...infiltrated..."
I don't actually have to explain what the author is doing here, do I?


"...if we do certain practices we can be more like Jesus."
Well, yes, that's the point. To be more like Jesus. And what are these practices? We don't know. The author hasn't described them for us in any detail. I wonder if he would object to them if he understood that they are all (OK, most of them) are centered in prayer or prayerful waiting for God? He hasn't offered a description of them, so we don't know if has a clue what he's talking about.


"...anyone can practices ... rituals....and find God in themselves."
Maybe he missed the "Christ in you" passage, above. God in you. Promised actually. By Jesus, and reinforced by Paul. One wonders why this is a problem for the author.


But, spiritual formation practices are rarely if ever referred to as "ritual," although any serious practice will be well, practiced. If that's ritual, then OK.


"All too often....altered sense of consciousness."
Actually, depending on what one means by "all too often," this statement in naive. No altered state of consciousness is necessary, encouraged, or considered routine. If the prophetess, Ms White could receive revelations from God, why can't a run of the mill Emergent bubba do so?


Oh that's right; she's a real prophetess.






HRoberson

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I could go on, but quite frankly from here, the article turns into a diatribe against Willow Creek and Saddleback churches and meanders all over the place.


The problem? There is no coherent connection between the evils and eventual woes of Willow Creek and spiritual formation. Oh, the words are used in close proximity, but because we don't know what spiritual formations are actually wrong (this article doesn't tell us), nor are we told which ones were the problem at Willow Creek, we have no way of making any logical deductions. The argument Iis all smoke and mirrors.

What we do know, as well as we can know them, is that any organization can focus on growth and ignore spiritual maturation of its members. Well, duh. We read that in the New Testament.


The problem is that the church growth techniques are not equivalent to spiritual formation practices, nor does this article make any connection between them, or with the issues of dissatisfaction at Willow Creek. Essentially the article says "Willow Creek used electric lights in their sanctuary so people could see the preacher and thought for the longest time that using electricity would be what God was after. But they were wrong, and because they were, it is clear that using electricity is of the Devil."


Illogical, political tripe.
« Last Edit: Mon Aug 05, 2013 - 18:24:55 by HRoberson »

HRoberson

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Now, it may be that Christian mysticism is the greatest blight on the Church in her entire history.


But this article doesn't present a logical, substantive case to that effect.


What we discover at the end is that the author actually, really doesn't like Willow Creek and has attempted to use an emotional argument against something he doesn't understand to smear Hybels, et al.


That's what it comes down to - a hit piece against Bill Hybels and Rick Warren.


And that is all it is.

HRoberson

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What is it that Adventists have against Warren and Hybels?

That they have a lot of folks meeting on Sunday, or what?

Offline Amo

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I will dissect this paragraph by paragraph, but not until this evening. But until then, let's start at the bottom and begin our tutorial.

Quote
The real origin is clearly not of Protestant or any of the Reformers or from scripture, so Protestant ministers and leaders need to look closely and see what it is and what is its purpose and decide what they should do accordingly.
What does the author do here? A simple propagandistic ploy of trying to cement his argument on the basis of "us" and "them." It is in fact, just another form of an ad hominem statement. It works this way: appeal to an emotional reaction in your audience so that the substance of both your and your opponent is ignored; basing your appeal on your audience's fear that "they" are different and should be considered suspect. There is no substance in this summary paragraph, simply a "warning." Classic really.

Even while deploring the development of the disliked topic as not-Protestant and thereby presumably suspect Roman Catholicism, the author fails to understand that Protestantism itself is a product of Roman Catholicism, springing from the very heart as it were of the Holy Roman Empire.

But what else have non-Protestants given us? Little things like our canon, various creeds and with them defined both heresies and the Christian faith, periodic movements to return the church to a closer relationship with God, increases in personal faith and practice, and other things on which Protestantism itself is dependent.

We are to be suspect of spiritual formation because it isn't Protestant. This is the height of arrogance and its appeal to the readers' reaction to a "them" is classic propaganda technique.

It is in short, political tripe.

Just out of curiosity HR, do you practice spiritual formation? Do you have a mentor, and practice contemplative prayer?

Perhaps you missed my question above. So I"ll ask it again?

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The following article can be found at -
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/card-kasper-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20080117_kasper-ecumenismo_en.html

All emphasis in the following is mine.

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN UNITY

REFLECTION BY CARD. WALTER KASPER*

Charting the road of the ecumenical movement


 
The year 2008 is a special one as we celebrated the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from 18 to 25 January. It was, in fact, celebrating so to speak its centenary. At the same time, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the joint work of the "Faith and Order" Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Every year, these two bodies prepare together the Week of Prayer's material and resources.

This year we also commemorated the Beatification 25 years ago, precisely during the Week of Prayer, of Sr Maria Gabriella of Unity (1914-36), a Trappist nun who devoted her entire life, in the isolation of her convent, to meditation and prayer in order to make Jesus' desire "that they may all be one" (Jn 17: 21) come true.

This triple anniversary prompts me to reflect on both the history and ever timely importance of the search for unity, and in a special way on the Week of Prayer and the spiritual dimension of ecumenism. I shall therefore consider the nature of spiritual ecumenism, its importance and impact, especially amid major changes affecting many aspects of ecumenism: indeed, at the beginning of this 21st century, its history stands on the threshold of a new period.

The birth of the 20th-century ecumenical movement more or less coincides with the World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910; we are already working on ecumenical preparations for its 100th anniversary, set to take place in two year's time. Edinburgh was very important for several reasons. It was the source of two great currents which then flowed into the World Council of Churches: "Life and Work" and "Faith and Order". Edinburgh's essential contribution was to explicitly connect the Church's ecumenical and missionary commitments. Ecumenism and mission are "brothers", so to speak.

Both clearly testify to the concept at the root of our own ecclesial understanding: the Church is never self-sufficient but must always look outwards and beyond herself. The Church's ecumenical challenge is to become ever more aware of the scandal of division, which the existence of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities particularly highlights, in order to achieve reconciliation. In her mission, the Church must open herself to the world of nations and cultures desirous of receiving the Gospel proclamation. Ecumenism and mission, therefore, also have an eschatological dimension; they strive for the eschatological shalom, the universal eschatological peace proclaimed by the Old Testament prophets. It is by no means accidental that the President and Secretary of the Edinburgh Conference, the American Methodist layman John Mott and the Anglican theologian Joseph H. Oldam, were also protagonists of the peace movement initiated after the tragedy and devastation of the First World War.

Yet, however important the commemoration of the Edinburgh Conference may be, we must not forget that it is neither the only nor the oldest root of 20th-century ecumenism. A hundred years ago, the then (still) Episcopalian minister Paul Wattson (1863-1940), Co-founder of the Community of Brothers and Sisters of the Atonement at Graymoor (Garrison, New York), introduced an Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity that was celebrated for the first time from 18 to 25 January 1908. In this centenary year, therefore, it was at Graymoor that preparations were made for this year's Week of Prayer.

But the Week of Prayer can be traced back to various initiatives even further back in time, and to movements of spiritual renewal in the second half of the 19th century: for example, the Oxford Movement, the World Evangelical Alliance, the "World Day of Prayer" of women which, despite strong male opposition, was introduced by Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Anglican women in the 1880s, first in the United States and Canada, then worldwide....

It is also worth remembering in a special way the two Encyclicals of the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim III: the first was addressed to all Orthodox Churches in 1902; the second was written in 1920 to invite Churches of the whole world to join an "Alliance of Churches", similar to the "Alliance of Nations". In this document, not only did the Patriarch use the Greek word koinonia (communion) as the final goal of the reunification of Churches, but he also stressed the key importance for all Christians of continuous prayer and invocations to implore the restoration of unity.

The Catholic Church was not absent. While officially supporting the institutional ecumenical movement solely with Unitatis Redintegratio, the Decree on Ecumenism of Vatican Council II, she participated from the outset in prayer for Christian unity and in spiritual ecumenism. In the 19th-century, when Catholic movements of spiritual renewal existed in many places, we already find groups praying for the Church's unity. Saints such as Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850) and Fr Luigi Orione (1872-1940), both important for pastoral renewal in Rome, as well as Adolf Kolping (1813-65) and the famous Bishop Ketteler of Mainz (1811-77), well known for their social involvement, supported and promoted prayer for Christian unity.

In his 1895 Brief Providae Matris, Pope Leo XIII recommended a Week of Prayer for the week preceding Pentecost. He wrote: "It is a matter of praying for a work comparable to the renewal of the First Pentecost when all the faithful were gathered round the Mother of Jesus in the Upper Room, of one mind and unanimous in prayer". Two years later, in his Encyclical Divinum Illud Munus, the Pope spoke of the prayer in which it was asked that the good of Christian unity be promoted. When the entire Society of the Atonement joined the Catholic Church, Pope Pius X, in 1909, gave his official Blessing to the Week of Prayer in January. Benedict XV supported it and introduced it definitively into the Catholic Church. Pius XI also encouraged it, and in his 1943 Encyclical Mystici Corporis, Pius XII said that he would pray for the Church's unity after Christ's example.

It is significant that it was at the end of the Week of Prayer, precisely on 25 January 1959, that John XXIII announced the Second Vatican Council which would officially open the Catholic Church to the ecumenical movement. In its Decree on Ecumenism, the Council declared: "This change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement and merits the name "spiritual ecumenism' (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 8). John Paul II frequently and clearly reaffirmed the priority of prayer and the importance of spiritual ecumenism in his 1993 Encyclical Ut Unum Sint (cf. nn. 15ff., 21ff., 24-27).

In taking a fresh look at Paul Wattson's original intention, we note an important development in the understanding of the Week of Prayer. While Wattson maintained that the goal of unity was the return to the Catholic Church, Abbé Paul Couturier of Lyons (1881-1953) gave a new impetus to this Week in the 1930s, ecumenical in the true sense of the word. He changed the name "Church Unity Octave" to "Universal Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", thus furthering a unity of the Church that "Christ wills by the means he wills".

Paul Couturier's 1944 spiritual testament is very important, profound and moving; it is one of the most inspired ecumenical texts, still worth reading and meditating on today. The author speaks of an "invisible monastery", "built of all those souls whom, because of their sincere efforts to open themselves to his fire and his light, the Holy Spirit has enabled to have a deep understanding of the painful division among Christians; an awareness of this in these souls has given rise to continuous suffering and as a result, regular recourse to prayer and penance".

Paul Couturier can be considered the father of spiritual ecumenism. His influence was felt by the Dombes Group and by Roger Schutz and the Taizé Community. Sr Maria Gabriella also drew great inspiration from him. Today, his invisible monastery is at last taking shape through the growing number of prayer networks between Catholic monasteries and non-Catholics, spiritual movements and communities, centres of male and female religious, Bishops, priests and lay people.

To conclude, we can say that prayer for Christian unity and above all the Week of Prayer are the origin and constant impetus of the ecumenical movement. This observation suggests various and very important things. First, the theme of this year's Week of Prayer: "Pray without ceasing" (I Thes 5: 17), sums up in itself a long history that dates back far beyond 100 years, ultimately to the Upper Room in Jerusalem where Jesus prayed and where the Apostles and the women, together with Mary, devoted themselves to prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 13ff.).... Ecumenism thus means making this prayer one's own, it means praying with Jesus and in Jesus. The principal and driving force of ecumenism is meditation, contemplation. But its goal is a communion which is not purely the result of human efforts, a work or institution created merely by us. Without spiritual communion, communion's entire structure would be nothing more than a soulless apparatus. Indeed, communion is first and foremost a gift. To decide when, where and how unity will be achieved is not in our hands but in God's; we must trust him.

Secondly, prayer and the sense of ecumenism began more or less independently in the different ecclesial traditions as well as in various transconfessional and transnational circles. They were supported by them all from the very start: Anglicans, Protestants, Orthodox, Catholics, free Churches. As Vatican Council II noted, this movement can be understood only as an impetus and action of the Holy Spirit, who has reawakened Christians worldwide and in all ecclesial traditions, making them feel remorse over the scandal of their divisions and a longing for unity (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, nn. 1, 4).

Thirdly, thanks to Edinburgh and all that resulted from it, such as the "Life and Work" and "Faith and Order" movements, what had been primarily a spiritual movement could for the first time take on an institutional structure, joining the missionary commitment and peace movement and thereby acquiring a world dimension not only at the level of geographical extension but also of impact and awareness. Every year, in fact, when we pray for Christian unity, we also pray for the most important needs in the social and political spheres and for world peace.

Ecumenism is thus a response to the signs of the times. In one of the darkest and most bloodstained centuries, marked by two World Wars which took a toll of millions of lives..., Christians have decided to overcome their ancient divisions, showing it is possible to be reconciled despite the faults committed in the past by all....

As John Paul II emphasized, in the 20th century there were martyrs in all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, people who, motivated by a profound Christian awareness, opposed the inhuman, Godless regimes and became totally committed to the quest for Christian unity, reconciliation and peace. By generously offering their lives for the Kingdom of God, these brothers and sisters of ours "are the most powerful proof that every factor of division can be transcended and overcome in the total gift of self for the sake of the Gospel" (Ut Unum Sint, n. 1).

* President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity


According to the above article, one can conclude that those who are not striving for “Christian unity” are in the wrong, and should feel remorse for “the scandal of division”. The Protestant movement was a deliberate separation from the Church of Rome because of her many false and soul endangering doctrines and practices. Most of which have not changed to this day. Should Protestants now abandon all these convictions for the sake of unity with Rome who has not changed?

Would this unity not also entail acceptance of and submission to the Pope of Rome once again as the head of all “Christianity”? Of course it would, Rome has not changed it’s position on this all encompassing point. Her intention is to support the initiative “to invite Churches of the whole world to join an "Alliance of Churches", similar to the "Alliance of Nations".  This would all be in line of course with the quote in the article by Paul Wattson who “maintained that the goal of unity was the return to the Catholic Church”.

Rome’s religious and political aspirations are as great as they ever were. While she is calling for the unity of all “Christianity”, she is also calling for the unity of all nations and religions of the world. Even calling for a global economic and political authority with real teeth to back up that authority and enforce compliance to it’s dictates (see ENCYCLICAL LETTER CARITAS IN VERITATE). What would be the result of the realization of these goals, but the establishment of the Pontiff of Rome above all other authorities, both religious and political. Are we not all servants of the one whom we obey?

As clearly revealed in the above article, the Ecumenical movement is an intricate part of implementing Rome’s designs. As Rome herself declares - "Ecumenism thus means making this prayer one's own, it means praying with Jesus and in Jesus. The principal and driving force of ecumenism is meditation, contemplation." Can anyone say Spiritual Formation? This phenomenon which is invading not just all “Christian” denominations but also is practiced by nearly all religions of the world, is a key element and factor of Rome’s designs. Through this channel of communication to satanic agencies and influence, the unification of humanity in rebellion against God under the direction of Rome, will be enhanced. It is just another instrument in the orchestrated designs of the evil one to unite humanity with him against the authority of God.





HRoberson

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As clearly revealed in the above article, the Ecumenical movement is an intricate part of implementing Rome’s designs. As Rome herself declares - "Ecumenism thus means making this prayer one's own, it means praying with Jesus and in Jesus.
"This prayer" is a prayer for Christian unity. Is there something wrong with Christian unity? What do you have against it? Should we all follow the Adventist Prophetess?

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The principal and driving force of ecumenism is meditation, contemplation." [/b][/u]
As used in this article, these terms take on a more generic meaning of prayer, which is what both meditation and contemplation are. However, even if contemplation is used in a strict sense, there is no reason why the Cardinal would not expect people to use contemplation in the pursuit of Christian unity.

Perhaps you don't think folks should pray for Christian unity; is that the issue here?

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Can anyone say Spiritual Formation? This phenomenon which is invading not just all “Christian” denominations but also is practiced by nearly all religions of the world, is a key element and factor of Rome’s designs.

If Rome were to say, prayer is an impetus for elevating Mary to the level of God, would you object to prayer on that basis? This summary is of the same quality of the previous article. The use of common word, not understood by the poster and confused with a variety of definitions are made to equal evil, Roman schemes.

So we see the same sorts of propagandistic emotional, and simplistic assertions. The intent? We can only assume that the authors want to scare people away from anything they already don't themselves (the authors) like, despite not demonstrating any level of understanding of the topic they want to "warn" us about.

We still don't know what is wrong with spiritual formation, but it must be Satanic - because the author tells us. This despite that the point of all Paul's letters, and Jesus' statements are all intended to accomplish - spiritual formation of disciples. Apparently both Jesus and Paul didn't know what they were doing.

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Through this channel of communication to satanic agencies and influence,
See what we've done - again? We just use a couple common words, strap them to the Evil Empire, and just assume we are going to agree that those terms and everything they mean are channels to Satanic agencies and influence.

Classic emotional propaganda.

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the unification of humanity in rebellion against God under the direction of Rome, will be enhanced. It is just another instrument in the orchestrated designs of the evil one to unite humanity with him against the authority of God.

Apparently these Adventists types don't like anybody except themselves. No Warren, No Hybels, and certainly NO Catholics. Anything and everything about them are Satanic and evil.

Silliness.

All of it.

HRoberson

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Spiritual Formation: The intentional shaping of one's spiritual character, views, and understandings. In the Christian tradition, this shaping is in the direction of mirroring Jesus and becoming more fully the image of God. In New Testament writings, the goals and processes of spiritual formation are called transformation or becoming like Christ, or even imitate me as I imitate Christ. Or even, "make disciples" or "feed the flock." In the Old Testament, the epitome of spiritual formation is summarized in the directive to repeat the Shema. It is also referred to as meditating on the Law of God or perhaps illustrated by the reading of Law after it was found in the wreckage of the Temple.


Spiritual formation is expected in Scripture.


Prayer: Communicating with God, not necessarily a one-way conversation where the human is constantly speaking. The psalms are often examples of praying, Jesus speaks with the Father on a number of occasions, and Paul encourages prayer by his readers. The broader understanding of prayer includes waiting on God to move, to sit in His presence, or even to hear God in various ways. And so we have examples of Samuel being called by God, Paul being instructed by God, David staying up all night "praying" and waiting for an answer from God. We have the promise of Jesus not to worry about what you are to say, because when the time comes, the Spirit will provide the words.


Prayer as communicating with God is expected in Scripture.


Union with God: Some intercommunion with God that amounts to something less than becoming divine, but not limited to an un-mixed existence or experience where the human and Deity remain entirely separate. In the New Testament we hear Jesus say that both he and the Father will come and abide with or in the disciple. We have Paul telling the Colossians "Christ in you." Even in the Old Testament we find the prophecy fulfilled in Acts 2: I will pour out my spirit on.....people.


Some sort of union or intercommunion with God is expected in Scripture.


So we have spiritual formation, prayer in a variety of modes, and intermixing with God all expected in Scripture.


Do we really need to review the Scriptural basis for meditating on the Word of God, or approaching God in silence and anticipation?


Perhaps these Adventists could stop their knee-jerk reaction against their favorite religious targets and actually put together something with a bit of actual knowledge behind it.


Something other than what amounts to smear campaigns against things they don't understand but clearly don't like.

Offline Hobie

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Spiritual Formation: The intentional shaping of one's spiritual character, views, and understandings. In the Christian tradition, this shaping is in the direction of mirroring Jesus and becoming more fully the image of God. In New Testament writings, the goals and processes of spiritual formation are called transformation or becoming like Christ, or even imitate me as I imitate Christ. Or even, "make disciples" or "feed the flock." In the Old Testament, the epitome of spiritual formation is summarized in the directive to repeat the Shema. It is also referred to as meditating on the Law of God or perhaps illustrated by the reading of Law after it was found in the wreckage of the Temple.


Spiritual formation is expected in Scripture.


Prayer: Communicating with God, not necessarily a one-way conversation where the human is constantly speaking. The psalms are often examples of praying, Jesus speaks with the Father on a number of occasions, and Paul encourages prayer by his readers. The broader understanding of prayer includes waiting on God to move, to sit in His presence, or even to hear God in various ways. And so we have examples of Samuel being called by God, Paul being instructed by God, David staying up all night "praying" and waiting for an answer from God. We have the promise of Jesus not to worry about what you are to say, because when the time comes, the Spirit will provide the words.


Prayer as communicating with God is expected in Scripture.


Union with God: Some intercommunion with God that amounts to something less than becoming divine, but not limited to an un-mixed existence or experience where the human and Deity remain entirely separate. In the New Testament we hear Jesus say that both he and the Father will come and abide with or in the disciple. We have Paul telling the Colossians "Christ in you." Even in the Old Testament we find the prophecy fulfilled in Acts 2: I will pour out my spirit on.....people.


Some sort of union or intercommunion with God is expected in Scripture.


So we have spiritual formation, prayer in a variety of modes, and intermixing with God all expected in Scripture.


Do we really need to review the Scriptural basis for meditating on the Word of God, or approaching God in silence and anticipation?


Perhaps these Adventists could stop their knee-jerk reaction against their favorite religious targets and actually put together something with a bit of actual knowledge behind it.


Something other than what amounts to smear campaigns against things they don't understand but clearly don't like.
Its not a smear when the facts bear it out, this is nothing but the ancient mystery religions that is a substitute for true worship of God and infiltrated the Jews, the early church and continues to be pushed today. This is not a Adventist reaction, its across the board as all the churchs are seeing the dangers and giving warning. Here is part of one from the Baptist...

".. The spiritual disciplines are not taught in Matthew 11:29, 30 (Willard’s primary proof test), and even Willard admits they cannot be found elsewhere in scripture (we shall show this momentarily). But he is nevertheless enthusiastic about the recent rediscovery of the disciplines.

Dallas Willard is excited to tell us that finally, through the lead of people like Richard Foster, we are having a revival of the use of spiritual disciplines. Writes Willard: “Today, for the first time in our history as a nation, we are being presented with a characteristic range of human behaviors such as fasting, meditation, simple living, and submission to a spiritual overseer, in an attractive light.”13 He claims that ordinary means such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism are inadequate and having failed, have left most Christians as failures. He writes, “All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result. But whose fault was this failure?”14 The “failure,” according to Willard is that, “. . . the gospel preached and the instruction and example given these faithful ones simply do not do justice to the nature of human personality, as embodied, incarnate.”15 So what does this mean? It means that we have failed because our gospel had too little to do with our bodies.

The spiritual disciplines are supposed to remedy this deficiency. Willard says, “By contrast, the secret of the standard, historically proven spiritual disciplines is precisely that they do respect and count on the bodily nature of human personality.”16 Willard claims that Paul understood the need for such practices but that they were lost: “Paul’s teaching, especially when added to his practices, strongly suggest that he understood and practiced something vital about the Christian life that we have lost—and that we must do our best to recover.”17 Of course, had Paul bothered to write about these “lost” disciplines in his epistles, they would not have been lost...."

http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue91.htm#.Uggw4ozD8W4

and from the Assemblies of God church....

"...This has been an ongoing problem for sometime (although the Barton invitation is probably the most pronounced). For example, there are several instances within the Assemblies of God seminary that show an affinity toward contemplative spirituality and the emerging church. And the Gospel Publishing House (the publishing arm of AOG) website sells a number of books from authors in the emerging/contemplative camp.

Incidentally, on the Network for Women in Ministry website (that’s the AOG women’s group responsible for inviting Ruth Barton to this year’s General Council conference), a ”Suggested List for Further Reading”  offers Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (where he says “we should all, without shame, enroll in the school of contemplative prayer”), Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Foster (his primer on contemplative prayer), a book by Henri Nouwen, and a book called The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on Prayer, which includes writings by many contemplative proponents: Nouwen, Foster, Marjorie Thompson, Brother Lawrence, Calvin Miller, Dallas Willard, Mother Teresa, Evelyn Underhill, and Thomas Merton.

Now, onto the information we are compelled to share in this report. It may seem trivial to some at first, but if you read through this report, we think you will see the significance.

In Ruth Haley Barton’s book Invitation to Solitude and Silence (the book where Barton acknowledges Thomas Keating’s influence in her life),  Barton quotes the late Catholic priest William Shannon from his book Silence on Fire  (the biography of Thomas Merton). Shannon states:

Wordless prayer … is humble, simple, lowly, prayer in which we experience our total dependence on God and our awareness that we are in God. Wordless prayer is not an effort to “get anywhere, ” for we are already there (in God’s presence). It is just that we are not sufficiently conscious of our being there.1 (emphasis added)

Shannon’s comment here is the typical statement by mystics of all religious backgrounds, i.e., that God is already inside each one of us (all mankind), and we just need to become aware of it. It is a panentheistic view. We can illustrate this further when Shannon says:

The contemplative experience is neither a union of separate identities nor a fusion of them; on the contrary, separate identities disappear in the All Who is God.2

Shannon, founder of the International Thomas Merton Society, did not believe in the biblical view of God as we will show below. When he speaks of “separate identities disappear[ing],” he means that there is only one identity - God and that God and man are mutually the same.  This is classic Buddhism or Hinduism. In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen addresses Shannon’s panentheistic beliefs:

[In William Shannon's book, Silence on Fire], he relates the account of a theological discussion he once had with an atheist groom for whom he was performing a wedding ceremony. He told the skeptical young man:

“You will never find God by looking outside yourself. You will only find God within. It will only be when you have come to experience God in your own heart and let God into the corridors of your heart (or rather found God there) that you will be able to ‘know’ that there is indeed a God and that you are not separate from God.”

This advice is no different from what any New Age teacher would impart to someone who held an atheistic point of view. You want God? Meditate! God is just waiting for you to open up. Based on Shannon’s own mystical beliefs, he knew this was the right approach. He alluded to this by explaining that the young man would find enlightenment if he would look in the right place or use the right method.3

In Shannon’s book, Seeds of Peace, he reiterates this same view:

This forgetfulness, of our oneness with God, is not just a personal experience, it is the corporate experience of humanity. Indeed, this is one way to understanding original sin. We are in God, but we don’t seem to know it. We are in paradise, but we don’t realize it.4 (emphasis added)

You will find this mindset in contemplative teachers across the board. This being in God has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. Shannon isn’t saying this to born-again Christians. This union with God is a blanket declaration for all of mankind, with or without a Savior. We are all in God..."

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?cat=1

and even from the non-denominational groups...

"...Here are some excerpts:

There is a movement advancing at lightning speed throughout the Body of Christ today. This movement promotes a spirituality that is corrupting believers from the simplicity found in Christ by weaving New Age—Occult precepts and practices into the very fabric of their life and faith….

Theological seminaries within literally every denomination are preparing graduates to facilitate this spirituality in the local churches through “Spiritual Formation” programs…  And graduates of these seminaries are trained to introduce certain spiritual disciplines into the lives and prayer habits of believers. When the term “spiritual discipline” is used, it is almost always referring to the incorporating of “contemplative spirituality” into the life of church members. Many churches are even introducing contemplative spirituality into children’s programs. Roman Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, Charismatics, along with non-Pentecostal evangelicals are being influenced, through almost identical Spiritual Formation programs that embrace an ungodly and unbiblical form of prayer called Contemplative Prayer. Contemplative prayer is, by far, the main practice promoted by Spiritual Formation programs…

Contemplative prayer is not prayer at all, but rather a “Christianized” form of unbiblical, eastern meditation which is nothing more than, TM—transcendental meditation. Spiritual Formation programs promoting the “Spiritual Discipline” of contemplative prayer along with various other occult practices are clearly forbidden in the scriptures.  Spiritual disciplines include, but are not limited to, yoga and labyrinth walking. These are also promoted, in addition to contemplative prayer, within the more liberal evangelical congregations. Do not assume your denomination has not already jumped on the contemplative bandwagon…

All who embrace contemplative spirituality, at some point, begin to hold the traditional beliefs of evangelical Bible-believing Christians in utter contempt—especially those concerning the importance of the written word of God and the importance of soul winning… All who embrace this spirituality begin losing their burden for soul-winning—although they seldom realize this is what is happening. Aggressive evangelism becomes discouraged and relationship evangelism is encouraged. That may sound good on the surface but denies the fact that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ—and nothing else—that is the power of God unto salvation. Again, do not think your fellowship is immune to this influence. Spiritual Formation programs are taking root within every denomination and within every belief platform of evangelical Christianity…

Believers should be alerted to the fact that the modern day contemplative spirituality, promoted within Protestant evangelical fellowships, descends from the Roman Catholic mystics (who in turn adopted it from eastern, non-Christian, belief systems).  Contemplative prayer cannot be fully embraced without referencing, at some point, the Roman Catholic mystics—Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Ignatius, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, The Desert Fathers (fathers of contemplative prayer) are just a few of the mystics. However, these may not be mentioned at first while introducing “Spiritual Disciplines” to non-Catholic evangelicals… "

http://davemosher.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/what-is-spiritual-formation-and-why-is-it-so-dangerous/

I can find the same thing being said across the board in almost every church and group if need be, people are seeing what this is and sounding the warning....


« Last Edit: Mon Aug 12, 2013 - 05:17:56 by Hobie »

HRoberson

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Spiritual Disciplines: These include prayer, living quiet lives, not wanting a lot of stuff, worship, fasting.... Which of those are not Biblically based. Or better yet, which are by definition, Satanic?

See....this is the problem.....you don't know what you're talking about. You cut and paste dire warnings posted by other people who don't know what they're talking about.

The problem is, none of you can articulate anything that is cogent. You have no idea why you don't like spiritual formation or spiritual disciplines.

You just know you don't.

For some reason you continue to think that Warren, Hybels, and the Roman church are Satan incarnate but you can't tell us why.

You simply make up evils and string together words that may or may not mean what you say they mean.

I do not accept your repeated assertion that spiritual formation is evil.

It is not.

I do not accept your repeated assertion that spiritual disciplines are evil.

They are not.

I don't accept your repeated assertion that something is evil just because Warren might do it.

It is not.

I don't accept your repeated assertion that something is evil just because Hybels might do it.

It is not.

I don't accept your repeated assertion that just because The Catholics do it, it must be evil.

It is not.

Do you think that you might be able to pull together a cogent, concise argument or justification for your knee-jerk defamation of other people and practices, none of which you have demonstrated any significant knowledge about?
« Last Edit: Sun Aug 11, 2013 - 22:26:15 by HRoberson »

HRoberson

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Maybe we could make this easier on you.

What is meditation?
What specifically do you think is Satanic about meditation?

What is contemplation?
What specifically do you think is Satanic about contemplation?

What is spiritual formation?
What specifically do you think is Satanic about spiritual formation?

What are spiritual disciplines?
What specifically do you think is Satanic about spiritual disciplines?

Don't cut and paste some other ignorant website's text.
Don't tell me how these things must be evil because some Joe Blow does them.

Pull together some indications that you actually understand the breadth of the topic, not just one or two extreme examples, and then engage a reasoned, cogent, and concise discussion about them.


« Last Edit: Sun Aug 11, 2013 - 22:24:50 by HRoberson »

Offline Amo

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As clearly revealed in the above article, the Ecumenical movement is an intricate part of implementing Rome’s designs. As Rome herself declares - "Ecumenism thus means making this prayer one's own, it means praying with Jesus and in Jesus.


"This prayer" is a prayer for Christian unity. Is there something wrong with Christian unity? What do you have against it? Should we all follow the Adventist Prophetess?


Yes there is something wrong with it, if it is fake unity. You tell me if you should follow the Adventist Prophetess? Should you seek unity with Adventists if you truly believe they are deceived and believe what is false? Of course you should not. Why should Protestants now seek unity with Rome, when Rome has changed little to nothing since the time Protestants left Rome in protest of her false and soul endangering doctrines and practices? Why seek to establish a false unity?

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The principal and driving force of ecumenism is meditation, contemplation." [/u]
As used in this article, these terms take on a more generic meaning of prayer, which is what both meditation and contemplation are. However, even if contemplation is used in a strict sense, there is no reason why the Cardinal would not expect people to use contemplation in the pursuit of Christian unity.

Perhaps you don't think folks should pray for Christian unity; is that the issue here?


Yes, that is the issue. How is one defining “Christian unity”. Why should those who claim the bible as their rule of faith, unify with Rome who confessedly does not? Why should they unify with Rome while Rome is seeking unity with all the nations and false religions of this world? This simply is not biblical.

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor 6:14-18 (KJV)

If unity meant simply peace, then so be it. It does not mean just peace however, but rather acceptance. While all Christians should seek to live at peace with everyone, they certainly cannot accept much of what Rome and this world represent as righteous or acceptable to God.

Why should those outside of Rome, accept her Spiritual Formation methodologies conducive to self hypnosis, in seeking unity with the same while their sources of authority and religious doctrines and practices are not only different but often antagonistic? Why should they open themselves up to the same satanic influences of the same toward a unity with the Mother church and religion of this world? Why seek unity with Rome while she is seeking unity with this entire world in rebellion against God? Or do you believe the Church of Christ should be seeking unity with all the kingdoms and religions of this world? Show us from scripture where we should be doing the same. No, but it is Babylon the great that has illicit relations with all the kings, religions, merchants, peoples, tongues, and nations of the earth in defiance of God and His word.

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Can anyone say Spiritual Formation? This phenomenon which is invading not just all “Christian” denominations but also is practiced by nearly all religions of the world, is a key element and factor of Rome’s designs.


If Rome were to say, prayer is an impetus for elevating Mary to the level of God, would you object to prayer on that basis? This summary is of the same quality of the previous article. The use of common word, not understood by the poster and confused with a variety of definitions are made to equal evil, Roman schemes.

So we see the same sorts of propagandistic emotional, and simplistic assertions. The intent? We can only assume that the authors want to scare people away from anything they already don't themselves (the authors) like, despite not demonstrating any level of understanding of the topic they want to "warn" us about.

We still don't know what is wrong with spiritual formation, but it must be Satanic - because the author tells us. This despite that the point of all Paul's letters, and Jesus' statements are all intended to accomplish - spiritual formation of disciples. Apparently both Jesus and Paul didn't know what they were doing.


Please do show us HR, from scripture where Jesus and His Apostles used breathing techniques and mantras conducive to self hypnosis when they prayed. Perhaps where they ever admonished us to do so. Can you find one instance where any such breathing control methods, or repetitive word mantras are recommended during prayer from scripture? I can only think of one from our Lord.

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt 6:5-15 (KJV)

Various forms of spiritual formation are used by all the false religions of this world. Since it clearly has not benefited them by leading them to the truth of the scriptures, why in God’s name should those who believe scripture now incorporate the unsuccessful methodologies and practices of the heathen into their own worship and prayer? The only result will be deception by way no doubt of a false sense of security in unity with Rome and all the religions and nations of this world.

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Through this channel of communication to satanic agencies and influence,

See what we've done - again? We just use a couple common words, strap them to the Evil Empire, and just assume we are going to agree that those terms and everything they mean are channels to Satanic agencies and influence.

Classic emotional propaganda.


Basing what one believes upon scripture and promulgating the same is not emotional propaganda. Here we are HR, present your case for the methodologies of Spiritual Formation from scripture if you can. If not, then without question they come to us via the false religions which in fact do and have incorporated such methodologies for ages now. Where is such found in scripture though?

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the unification of humanity in rebellion against God under the direction of Rome, will be enhanced. It is just another instrument in the orchestrated designs of the evil one to unite humanity with him against the authority of God.


Apparently these Adventists types don't like anybody except themselves. No Warren, No Hybels, and certainly NO Catholics. Anything and everything about them are Satanic and evil.

Silliness.

All of it.


Your assertion that only Adventists see the dangers of Spiritual Formation has already been proved false by some of the links I have already provided. Anyone who cares to do so can do an internet search and will find many people from various denominations sounding the warning against these practices. I guess you are not going to answer my question regarding your own involvement with Spiritual Formation. For now then, I will assume you are involved in the same. Unless you decide to testify to the contrary. The following are a few more sites some might find interesting.

http://www.contemplativeprayer.net/

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/contemplating_the_alternative.html#5Alt

http://www.empoweredbychrist.org/contemplative-prayer.html

http://christianresearchnetwork.org/topic/contemplative-prayer/

http://carm.org/centering-prayer

http://www.discerningtruth.org/showthread.php?182-Contemplative-Prayer-Movement-and-Its-Origin

http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/05/the-101-of-contemplative-prayer/

http://www.bbcenglish.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=843:contemplative-prayer-part-5&catid=53:doctrine&Itemid=88

http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/