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Posts Tagged ‘contemplative’

My recent experience with a church focusing on Emergent youth with adult leadership reading Dallas Willard and others has taught me a great deal about this current movement toward meditation in the church.  It is not the same thing as meditation mentioned in the Bible.  First of all, the Bible outright says to meditate on scripture with no lead up or revelation.  In our recent church, we were seeing no outright and open sermons on meditation.  The pastors have not openly discussed the practice.  They have been slowly presenting silence into prayer at church, and have a sign outside the sanctuary requesting silence as people come into the service. The children have been asked to sit silently and think what God has done for them for a period of five minutes or more. Nothing wrong with silence.   Nothing wrong with thinking on God.  However, this is modeled and it’s not explained where it’s leading.   Funny thing too, I’ve noticed pastors saying words like contemplate in ordinary speaking, for example, “as I began to contemplate” so that it’s a word already being used but not in the way it will be in the future.  Of course, mantra meditative prayer is not just walking in alone.  It’s hidden in “spiritual formation” or “spiritual disciplines.”  It’s just one part of a list of disciplines including solitude, silence, frugality, and others.  Each of these are being slowly introduced too.  I really have little problem with people chosing to live a life of frugality, or to be celebate.  If that’s someone’s choice and sacrifice to God, I cannot argue.  However, even these things are being presented slowly and if quotes from the authors are representative, these disciplines are seen as a way to become closer to God and from what I’ve read…they are required for growth.  Eventually, meditation and lectio divina fit into this requirement. 

 Because of the authors promoted by our pastors, like Willard, Miller, Warren, Frost, Steven Smith, etc, it’s evident the church is headed toward contemplative prayer.  Some of these authors have referenced or acknowledged other authors who are into mysticism.  Those acknowledgements can send people reading other books, which eventually lead to people who promote New Age meditation or Buddist/Hindu meditation.  Follow the fruit to the root, and you will see that this current use of meditation has no place in Christian life.  Go ahead, spend time with God and read your Bible, go for a walk and talk to God or think on the scriptures you read in the morning.  But don’t buy into the idea you should basically “do nothing” and empty your thoughts.   If you find yourself repeating a small snatch of a phrase many times in prayer, consider that there are people from other religions doing the exact thing, and they believe in many gods…or even claim to believe in no god.

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Pepperdine University Bible Lectures go contemplative.  Doesn’t surprise me to hear this as the guest speaker at the church we attended today mentioned taking his daughter to this.  This is reported by Lighthouse Trails Research http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1190&more=1&c=1.

While you’re at it, if you click on the link below to see that Ravi is rubbing shoulders with some interesting folks.  Hopefully, he’s going to respond to people who contact him positively by either speaking out against contemplative OR he’s going to refuse to speak there AND then he’ll speak out against contemplative. 

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1189&more=1&c=1

 

Ugh.  Not Ravi.

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For the Time Being I pulled the link..

 

If you do not think Focus on the Family is getting contemplative, don’t be fooled.  Here’s a link to a blog about the disciplines of silence and solitude.  Note the comment about New Age at the end.  I find no comfort knowing the quote on disciplines comes from Focus on the Family. 

The link had a quote from J. P. Moreland, and then a description of being contemplative and silent.  The final quote from this man was as follows:

“If you are reading this and plan to make a comment about how New Age these thoughts are, just know that I got the J.P. Moreland quote from a Focus on the Family website.  Instead of fighting it just Be Still and Know that God is God.” 

Huh.  This is sort of “Borg” like to me.  Assimilate or die.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve written my letter, mostly.  I’m having a few friends I trust look it over.  So now what? 

I’m a bit confused now, really.  I do not know how to trust any longer when it comes to hearing a sermon.  It’s like when I was younger and read “Late Great Planet Earth” and everything around me I saw was pointing to scary events.  I was hyper focused on the stuff I read, and was walking in fear.  I now feel unraveled, that I need to go back to basics so to speak, to get my bearings. 

I believe the emergent/seeker friendly/new spirituality/new age church is wide spread.   Because it is so widespread, I’m afraid I’ll just church shop my way into the same problem again.  Also, and this is very difficult, I now wonder how much of what I believe has been colored and touched by false teaching.  I do not want to throw away the good and true things I have learned because it seems like what mergent churches might teach.  I want to hold fast to what is good even if Rick Warren said it once.  You see, the lie is so close to the truth that there is some truth there.  It would be easy to loose faith after realizing the lies we were rubbing up against.  It’s hard to wonder how much of my “good will” feelings were my own or what was prompted by the suggestions of my church leaders.  Sometimes I look at the good things our church was doing (in terms of service and missions projects) and I begin to wonder what was wrong with that?  The only thing wrong, really, was that it wasn’t coming from God but coming from man’s plans.  To top it off, the message was distorted only slightly (more so now than then), and so what we were doing was not for God.  Is is an accurate thing to say our church was like Cain?  Abel brought the true sacrifice God required, and we were bringing something else.  That made everything we did not quite good enough, not quite right.  We were missing the mark.  So now, I live in this little world where I question so much of what I’m doing.  What do I do next? 

I also don’t want to judge people wrongly.  If there is a tie in to mergent, fine, I’ll avoid or try to redirect.  I don’t want to shy away from going out and walking around and praying for my neighbors.  Though “prayer walks” come from contemplative style churches, this doesn’t mean that praying for my neighbors should stop.  I don’t want to avoid going out by myself and praying just because contemplatives talk about solitude.  I also don’t want to avoid trying to find a quiet place to have a “quiet time” or spend time reading and praying because contemplatives talk of being still.  There is nothing wrong with going to the Father in prayer and finding a quiet place to pray.  It’s whether or not that is requried for “a closer relationship” to Him that’s questionable.  I will not be meditating with repetative phrases, I will not be opening myself up or centering in prayer.  So, being quiet for a while is not evil.  It’s just the distortion of the requirements and the mimicking eastern meditation methods that is wrong.  It’s not wrong to expect to be changed because I am a Christian, it’s just wrong to transform into something of this world.

So, I guess the “now what” is to just “do the next thing.”  I need to take time to be with my family, to study the Bible, to pray, and to find a place we can worship the only wise God, the true God.

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A wise woman gave me food for thought.  In the “Welcome the Critics” comment she warned that I could be opening myself up as a platform to contemplatives looking for blogs that speak up against contemplative and emerging.  While I do allow some comments, I will not just welcome the critics as my previous post states.  I do not need to spend my life answering people who will not be interested in change or who will use new age terms that will desensitize the public.  One example, “With God life” slipped right by me as I do not know all this contemplative language.  I was informed this language is from Richard Foster who promotes contemplative prayer and favorably sites authors who openly practice it.  This space is not open for this promotion.  I will moderate comments, and will be more careful what I copy and paste in my own postings.

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“Proclaim the gospel that sinful man needs a Savior and know that salvation is:

Through faith alone

in Christ alone

only by God’s grace

as revealed in scripture alone

to the glory of God alone”

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Our church has planted several churches, a few in our local area and some overseas.  I have noticed that some of the people leaving our church just go to one of the church plants.  We attended one of them yesterday partially because we were running late and it is closer to our home.  It’s also that our church often doesn’t have children’s classes on Sunday when there is a holiday weekend.  The children complain when they don’t get to see their friends. 

I have to admit, the sermon was much more biblical and I felt the truth being preached.  It was over the armor of God, and only in a few places did I think I might want to recheck as there was a stretch.  One example was that the shield used in the times this was written were meant to be used corporately to create a sort of “wall” and so you need the community when fighting the devil, you don’t do it alone.  I really believe you can fight alone depending on if that’s God’s will…of course you have God.  In fact, like David used the sling and had God with him, he didn’t need corporate church to help.  Anyway, this was the one area otherwise, I felt it was very instructive and I felt fed.

The children said they understood what they learned in Sunday School, and it had been a long time since they understood the biblical point at our regular church.  That to me is sad.  They said, “well, it’s because they read straight from the bible instead of showing us those videos like they do at our church.”  They are even saying they’d like to go to this church instead if it wasn’t for their best friends who attend our church.  Huh.

The only problem with attending this church is that if the error in our church is as bad as I think it is, this local church plant is still impacted by it’s mother church.  The pastors from our church speak there often.  They also have a “catch phrase” that suggests contemplative as “Centered” is one of the main words.  Right now, it appears they mean “life Centered on Christ” and not contemplative, but still.  Also, in a previous post I wrote about YF camp.  This church mentioned a YF camp upcoming, so all the associations emergent and new age, though it’s a long line, are in this church as well. 

I also began by email to ask about another of our church plants since some members have left our church with their concerns but went to this new church plant.  I wrote asking if they had used “Purpose Driven” materials.  The woman I wrote accidentally forwarded the email because she used the CC to pull up the pastor’s address to give to me.  We may well find out the associations between church plant pastors.  If we are questioned in our own church, we’ll know they communicate and we can avoid this newer church plant.  For our friends, it’s my hope that the newer plants aren’t following their “mother.”

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