My Denomination Does Not Promote New Age Spirituality Through Spiritual Formation Programs!

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My Denomination Does Not Promote New Age Spirituality Through Spiritual Formation Programs!

 

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.

 

This is done in such subtle and seductive ways that a complete paradigm shift (a shift from one position or one belief system to another) begins to take place.

 

Once this happens, the believer, completely unawares, begins the process on becoming prodigal. The Word of God becomes secondary to the experiential (that which can be experienced), and the danger of becoming apostate, at that point, becomes a distinct reality.

 

This movement is also having the effect of drawing many into Christian church membership without ever coming to a saving knowledge of Christ.

 

They are drawn to, and embrace, a spirituality—a form of godliness—that has no saving power whatsoever.

 

Almost all prominent proponents of the modern Church Growth Movement promote this spirituality as a way of attracting new members. 

 

Theological seminaries within literally every denomination are preparing graduates to facilitate this spirituality in the local churches through “Spiritual Formation” programs.

 

Spiritual Formation is defined as the teaching and application of “spiritual disciplines.” 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. It is also called soaking or centering prayer.

 

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.

 

 

Below is a list of denominations which have instituted these programs:

         Andover Newton Theological School

         Assemblies of God (AG Theological Seminary)

         Baptist (Baylor University & Dallas Theological Seminary)

         Church of God (Mount Paran)

         Methodist (Dubuque Theological Seminary)

         Moody Bible Institute

         Nazarene Theological Seminaries

         Presbyterian Theological Seminaries

         Wheaton College

 

I personally received an email from within the Dean’s office at the United Methodist University of Dubuque Theological Seminary requesting information on labyrinth walking.

 

They had our ministry, Hungry Hearts Ministries, confused with a prominent, online, Presbyterian “Hungry Heart” spiritual formation outreach. They wrote me requesting my permission to use one of the Hungry Heart Newsletter articles in training their seminary students to facilitate labyrinth walking as part of their spiritual formation program.

 

Below is a copy of that correspondence:

 

“The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary located in Dubuque, Iowa would like copyright permission to reproduce "Labyrinth" from the summer 2000, Vol. 8, No. 2 edition of Hungry Hearts.

 

The purpose is for use in our Spiritual Formation Group class. We are seeking permission to use as part of our curriculum for several years. Is there a one time copyright fee that would cover us for several years? We have approx. 30-40 students in the class per year.

 

Thank you for your assistance.”

 

I responded that I had no idea as to what they were referring to and received a rather brusque reply when they realized their mistake.

 

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.

 

Within the familiar confines of her Baptist Church, former Sunday school worker/now contemplative author, Sue Monk Kidd, came to the unfortunate conclusion that her ultimate authority was not the Bible at all, but rather the “divine voice of her own soul.” (Dance of the Dissident Daughter)

 

Bill Hamon, the Father of the Apostle-Prophet Movement, who promotes contemplative spirituality and attacks traditional, evangelical beliefs and practices in just about every area, has this to say about the amazing fact that 20,000 new believers per day are being won to the Lord in China, he says, “…that sounds great, but…” (Apostles Prophets and the Coming Moves of God 1997)

 

How can you add a “but” to the fact that 20,000 believers a day are coming to the Lord? Bill Hamon does it because he claims that signs and wonders are the definitive proof that God is working and should also be the definitive fruit of every ministry—not the fact that souls are won to Christ.

 

Experiences, signs, wonders and our own inner voices do not supercede the authority of the written word of God and the amazing miracle of the salvation of a soul.

 

Rick Joyner, another prominent figure in prophetic circles who promotes contemplative prayer, also emphasizes the experiential, in place of the authority of the written word of God, when he claimed he had lots of scripture references to back up the things he wrote in his incredibly anti-Bible, anti-evangelical, unscriptural book The Harvest, but that he wasn’t going to list any of them as he wanted the reader to “commune with the spirit” about whether or not what he had written was the truth.

 

In a later book, Joyner shared a vision he received where he saw a holy mountain which portrayed Christians who focused primarily on soul winning as being at the bottom of the developmental heap (concerning spiritual growth).

 

According to Joyner, ardent soul winners are the least spiritually developed and most pathetic of all Christians (The Final Quest, 1996).

 

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.

 

Southern Baptist Life Way Bookstores has been contacted on more than one occasion, by concerned evangelicals, concerning their promotion of contemplative authors who boldly deny biblical authority and the exclusivity of the Christian faith.

 

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.

 

Mike Bickle, a leader in the prophetic movement who heavily promotes contemplative prayer, makes no excuses for the fact that if you want to “go deeper,” into God, you must embrace both contemplative prayer and the Roman Catholic Mystics.

 

He freely admits contemplative prayer cannot be found in scripture nor can it be found anywhere in protestant tradition—it can only be found within eastern religions which passed it on to Christianity via the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Most leading contemplatives have no problem agreeing with Mike Bickle on this.

 

In more conservative denominations, the spiritual disciplines may be limited, for the time being, to contemplative prayer.

 

Among more liberal evangelicals, yoga, labyrinth walking and other occult practices may be, unapologetically, included in the “disciplines.”

 

Some (but by no means all) descriptive terms used by those who promote contemplative spirituality are:

  • Going deeper into God
  • Opening ourselves to experience God
  • Meditation
  • The Silence
  • Solitude
  • Reflecting / Reflection
  • Lectio Divina
  • Spiritual disciplines

One of the first observable fruits of contemplative spirituality is an ecumenical mindset which fails to discern important doctrinal differences between the Protestant and Roman Catholic religions.

 

All, both Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals alike, who are experiencing paradigm shifts by means of these “disciplines,” become enamored with eastern culture. Both their words and writings are peppered with frequent references to the un-spirituality of the “western” church.

 

Peace, peace, love, love and “Don’t Judge!” are becoming words of the day. But the same ones whose conversation is so liberally sprinkled with these also have no problem with criticizing—often viciously—those with more “traditional” beliefs.

 

All contemplatives eventually experience a failure to understand why there are religious differences at all—between anyone in any religion—who is truly seeking God using any means.

 

The prevailing attitude becomes, “Seek God. It doesn’t matter how you do it—just do it—he’ll accept you regardless.”

 

Bible believing Christians know this is simply not true. Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth and the only life.

 

But within Pentecostal, Prophetic, and non-Pentecostal circles—among those who adopt the “Spiritual Disciplines,” doctrine becomes a dirty word and definitely becomes subordinate to the experiential.

 

A few popular authors who promote contemplative spirituality are as follows:

  • Beth Moore
  • Bill Hamon
  • Brennen Manning
  • Chuck Swindoll
  • C. Scott Peck
  • David Jeremiah
  • Father Thomas Keating
  • Henri Nouwen
  • Max Lucado
  • Richard Foster
  • Rick Joyner
  • *Rick Warren
  • Sue Monk Kidd
  • Thomas Merton

This is a very short list (comparatively) which high lights the pervasiveness of this movement and the diversity of the religious affiliations of those who promote this unbiblical spirituality.

 

*See online article “Rick Warren Comes Out of the Closet” written by the author of this booklet. www.fromthelighthouse.com/blog/index.php?p=436&more=1&c=1 

 

It is a frightening fact that the list of evangelical, contemplative authors is growing daily.

 

The dangers of contemplative, experiential, spirituality are severe enough that Bible believing Christians should give anyone promoting these beliefs a very wide berth.

 

When allowed to run its course, the end result of embracing this spirituality is a complete paradigm shift—not only away from the simplicity found in Christ, but altogether away from the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

 

To a man, Evangelical contemplatives all profess belief in Christ.

 

But all prominent, admitted, contemplatives—all—as in   every   single   one—stress that they have finally come to the understanding that God is in all things.

 

This is an admission, whether they own up to it or not, that, in their refined, revised, contemplative, opinion, Jesus is no longer the only way.

 

There is no way God can be in everything and only in those who belong to his son at the same time. The two ideas are mutually exclusive—each diabolically opposed to the other.

 

The end result of contemplative spirituality is Panentheism.

 

Panentheism is the unscriptural belief that God is in all things as opposed to the biblical teaching that he resides, not in all things, but only within those who belong to him through faith in his risen son, the only Christ, Christ Jesus.

 

More information regarding this critical subject can be found online at:

www.HungryHeartsMinistries.com

www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com

 

Authors we recommend who are exposing this movement include:

 

  • Ray Yungen who wrote “A Time of Departing” Exposing the Contemplative Spirituality and Spiritual Formation.
  • Brian Flynn, a former New Age Medium who wrote “Running Against the Wind” exposing the New Age teachings in contemplative spirituality and spiritual formation programs.

More Prominent Ministries that promote Spiritual Formation:

Focus on the Family

Awana Clubs

CMA (Christian Management Association)

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Reformed Church in America

Biola University

Bethel Seminary

Salvation Army

Dallas Theological Seminary

Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Be careful what you eat...

               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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