Contemplative What?

April 13, 2006 — 11 Comments


You thought the Gospel of Judas was heretical? It is, but there’s much more subliminal ways to destroy Christianity by making it into just another cult. These ways have tricked the likes of Beth Moore and Max Lucado, well-meaning people with no knowledge of the heresy. The subtlety is frightening.

Recently, 20th Century Fox released a movie called Be Still and Know That I am God, with a cover boasting names of “contemplatives” such as Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Calvin Miller and Priscilla Shirer, as well as Beth Moore and Max Lucado. Brennan Manning and Dr. Charles Stanley are referenced in the acknowledgement list at the end.

Here’s the advertisement for the video:

Eight hundred people gathered at Mariner’s church in Newport Beach, California for this amazing event that was broadcast live to over 2000 churches nationwide. Richard Foster and Priscilla Shirer shared passionately about the vital need to spend time listening to God and Dr. Henry Cloud challenged everyone with practical steps to help incorporate this type of prayer into busy, everyday life. Kendall Payne’s soulful ‘Be Thou My Vision’ set apart the close of the evening with Richard Foster leading the group in a time of silent, listening prayer based on a scripture reading from Luke. As one woman shared afterward, ‘I loved learning about this new kind of prayer that is actually so old from so many different views. There really was something for everyone…’

The biggest, scariest word in there: contemplative prayer.

“Contemplative prayer is ‘listening prayer,’” says Richard Foster, “It is attentiveness … It is being ‘all ears’ to what the Father has to say to us.”

The DVD shows people reading their Bibles, while similar descriptions progress. Okay, so I am to listen to God while reading the Bible?” asks writer and former new-ager Brian Flynn. “I do that already. God informs me through His word. What’s new about that?”

The thing about this DVD is that it mixes “contemplating” on Scriptures with “contemplative” prayer. The spiritual discipline of silence and solitude is not new, but emptying ones mind certainly is.

“…the first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer,” says Brannon Manning describing contemplative prayer method in his book Signature of Jesus, ” The second step, ”without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word [or phrase] inwardly, slowly, and often.”

Finally “The third step concerns what to do when inevitable distractions come. The answer is to simply return to listening to your sacred word. Gently return your mind to your sacred word.”

I’m not sure about you, but personally, I’m not about to “repeat the sacred word” over and over until my mind is emptied and God can “speak.” That’s Hinduism and New Age, not Christian. The true spiritual discipline of silence is solitude is “the voluntary and temporary abstention from speaking so that certain spiritual goals might be sought.” (Donald Whitney) These goals include reading, writing, praying, and studying. It is having outward silence, yet inwardly having a “conversation” with God.

We can follow Christ’s example of silence and solitude. He went to the desert to pray (Matthew 4:1), He woke up early in the early morning and prayed in solitude (Mark 1:35), and He repeatedly left the multitudes to pray in solitude and silence. But he did not “empty his mind” by repeating “the sacred word.” If we are quiet, we can hear the whisper. If we are alert, we can hear Him. Of course, it’s not essential to be able to hear God to be in quiet and solitude, but it is much easier to hear “undistracted the voice of God.” (Donald Whitney)

Once again, we must understand the occultic nature of contemplative prayer, seen in the “warning” given by Richard Foster in his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home:

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance…. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection.

I really don’t want to have a demon come into my mind and I’m sure you would like to avoid that as well.

I believe we as Christians need to understand the implications of contemplative prayer, and to examine it fully. We need to go to the core of the issue, looking to find out what it truly is. We need to ask ourselves why Christ did not tell us to pray like this, and why these men and women are promoting this practice of making Christianity just another cult.

Statement From Beth Moore:

Recently I was interviewed for a program on prayer in which I was asked certain questions without any knowledge of what other participants would say or share. Since its release, I’ve been baffled by some inquiries into whether or not I am a proponent of approaches to prayer with overtones of Eastern meditation. Not only is my answer no, the thought never even occurred to me. I’m a Southern Baptist, for crying out loud!…read the rest!

Tim Sweetman

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Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

11 responses to Contemplative What?

  1. Its the rot from the inside that can weaken a building before and during a storm.

    We just need to keep vigalant, and that post was an excellent example of it.

  2. Oh wow. For some reason the first thing that came to mind while reading that is the chinese people sitting with their fingers making little circles saying “Hmmmmmmmmm”.

    Christianity is a relationship with God, not a repeat-a-word-over-and-over-again-relationship.

    Thanks for pointing that out, I don’t know HOW many people will fall for that…too many.

    KP

  3. LOL @ KP…”HMMMMMMMMM” :)

    Great post! I pray that not too many will be trapped by this. But this is another sign that the end times is here as people will not endure sound doctrine.

    Matt

  4. Bingo Tim, it has been said that while Eastern meditation is emptying one’s mind of everything, Christian meditation is filling one’s mind with thoughts of God’s glory, majesty, etc. and being in awe of their magnitude. (I think it was either J.I. Packer or Ravi Zacharias who said that)

  5. yikes…what a trick. thank God some folks saw through it!
    *goes off saying “hmmmmmmmmmmm”* ;-)

  6. Great post, Tim. I’m a big fan of Brennan Manning, but haven’t read Signature of Jesus. So that’s really interesting, to be sure. There’s a lot to think about there. I concur.

  7. I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance…. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection.

    This quote from Richard Foster shows how bad things are. Prayer here is seen as some sort of Eastern meditation thing rather than an action of the will. The whole “prayers of protection” is reminiscent of trying to cast magic spells over you to keep you safe and woe betide if you mangle up that spell!

    Besides which, Christians cannot be demon possessed. The Devil can’t push the Holy Spirit out of us now can he?

  8. Besides which, Christians cannot be demon possessed. The Devil can’t push the Holy Spirit out of us now can he?

    True. But, of course, we shouldn’t “empty our minds” and allow “God to speak.” I mean, mentally, something might speak to us that just isn’t God. In fact, if you are using contemplative prayer, I highly doubt God is speaking to you through that, but rather something else. That is probably why many of these people are traveling down such a wrong path.

  9. Has anyone on here seen the film “Be Still”. I haven’t but hope to in the next week. I also would caution people about using SLICE OF LAODICIA as a reference. SLICE does a great job many times in exposing falsehood but they are also notorious for hatching out wrong info such as saying the Desert Church Fathers were gnostics which is like saying John Calvin was a Mormon.

    I am reading Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline” and Meditation is described as filling our mind with God. I do not agree with Foster or many things in that he is a Quaker and I am definitely Calvinist in my theology. I think however there is a knee jerk reaction by many Reformed bloggers to label anything with meditation or contemplative prayer as New Age.

    When one reads the book WAY OF A PILGRIM (a classic on contemplative prayer) written from a Russian Orthodox perspective the emphasis is on feeling one’s mind with Jesus Christ. I am not condemning or condoning “BE STILL” until I have seen it. It could be filled with heresy or may not.

  10. I have used all of beth moores bible studies and i know that she is a godly woman and humble person whose goal is only to bring people to a saving grace through Jesus Christ and also encourage them to BE IN THE WORD and grow to love god more. she apparently was interviewed separately from the others and did not know of the TRUE intent of this dvd and has now stated that she had no idea what was up,is not into this type of prayer and has asked forgiveness.PRAISE GOD for that! now my question is whether the other christians such as max lucado have done the same. i guess i’ll check that out! We as christians ABSOLUTELY MUST BE MORE DISCERNING!!!

  11. Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

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