CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY - THE LATEST 'CHRISTIAN' CRAZE
By Paul Proctor
November 8, 2006
The greatest danger to the church today is not the atheist, the agnostic, the liberal, the humanist, the Marxist or even the Muslim extremist, but rather the "Christian" who subtly blends truth and lie resulting in a designer deity and discipline that finds common ground with the very enemies of Christ so as to become modish and marketable to the mainstream.
When one leavens the Christian faith with New Age teachings and practices, the result is a sacrilegious synthetic that is every bit as damning as the New Age itself, minus the stigma, rendering it more perilous than its predecessor precisely because of its churchy disguise. By way of the Hegelian Dialectic, many professing Christians are now embracing and promoting the hottest new hybrid to hit the church today, called "Contemplative Spirituality," that brings certain beliefs and practices from Eastern Mysticism into otherwise Christian worship to effectively permit, provide and promote what biblical Christianity does not.
Thesis (Christianity) + Antithesis (New Age) = Synthesis (Contemplative)
This dialectic derivative and its use of chants, more commonly associated with Zen Buddhism and the Transcendental Meditation of Hinduism, is becoming well entrenched in the Christian culture and being practiced for the sole purpose of emptying one's mind in order to experience an altered state of consciousness, (aka, "Alpha," "Nirvana," etc.) and the spiritual empowerment of "finding God within," which ultimately results in, among other things, silence, darkness, voices, visions and a "presence" erroneously assumed to be Divine - certainly not something Jesus taught His followers, but instead what He often delivered the demonically oppressed and possessed from - now ironically and tragically what many young "Christians" are actually seeking.
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." - Luke 11:24-26
Nowhere in scripture are we encouraged to recite mind-emptying mantras but are in fact, specifically commanded NOT to engage in them. Jesus considered such things to be a "heathen" practice. Nevertheless, today's Emergent enthusiasts fondly refer to it as "Contemplative Prayer" or "Centering Prayer." Some even use biblical words and phrases as their mantra, known to many as "lectio divina," which essentially turns the Word of God into a meaningless mechanism of magical mush. Still others choose the repetition of very short prayers that can each be voiced within in a single breath to achieve "the silence" – calling them "breath prayers."
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." - Matthew 6:7
And please don't write me citing the Lord's Prayer as an example of God condoning recitation. The Lord's Prayer was an example of HOW to pray, not WHAT to pray.
We all know what an insult it is to be patronized and propagandized by anonymously authored speeches, store bought sermons and ghostwritten books where someone feigns the wisdom, insight and sincerity of another by claiming and/or reciting their words as their own before an audience to artificially accomplish what they could not authentically articulate themselves. Even though this is becoming an increasingly accepted practice in our conscience-free culture, when it comes right down to it, nobody likes a hypocrite or a schmooze. And when we perform prefabricated prayers or chant monotonous mumbo jumbo to vacate our brains for ecstatic experiences instead of honestly opening our hearts in prayer and supplication before the Lord Jesus Christ, we demonstrate to Him and everyone else that we have nothing real to offer, and worse, aren't all that interested in anything He has to say to us through His Word, because we're in it for the high, not for religious "dogma," as it is so insultingly referred to by many from within the Emerging Church movement who are clearly no more convicted by the Holy Spirit than the carnally-minded crowds that followed Jesus around to get their stomachs stuffed.
Imagine your child communicating with you by reading someone else's scripted speech - or just repeating to you the very same words and phrases over and over and over until their eyes roll back in the head. Do you honestly think that would bring the two of you closer together? Why then do Contemplatives think recitations and incantations will bring us closer to our Father in Heaven? I dare say that the only one it will bring them closer to is the prince of this world.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." - 1st John 4:1
Frankly, those who indulge in Contemplative prayer and walk Labyrinths to get a buzz for Jesus are no better off than winos mumbling and stumbling through a maze of darkened downtown streets only to wind up languishing alone on cardboard beds beneath bridges and between buildings, because the end is the same - confusion, delusion, depression and death. They're not following Christ or obeying His Word, they're only junkies chasing a high and running from the reality of their own rebellion by attempting to anesthetize their pain and escape accountability - all the while justifying themselves by sorting through the conjectural compost of beard-stroking street urchins and calling it "Emergent conversation."
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." - Colossians 2:8
Contemplative Spirituality is finding its way into the church these days largely through youth groups, events, conferences, concerts, and coffee houses where Emergent leaders and their wayward wisdom wow young wannabes into mind-numbing mysticism right under the noses of ignorant and/or delinquent parents and pastors who assume their teens are being instructed in the faith of their fathers, having, in absentia, abdicated their spiritual duty over to change agents so they themselves can passionately pursue their own purpose driven lives.
The seeker-sensitive pulpits of America long ago jettisoned the fear of the Lord and the Gospel of repentance in order to partake in the pragmatic pleasures of personal experience and cuddle in the cozy compromise of consensus, spawning a generation of "Christians" that care not about the absolute truth of God's Word but only about turning inward for gratification and guidance and outward for adulation and affirmation, just like their PDL parents, making them more compliant to the coming one-world religion of tolerance, diversity and unity. Simply put, Contemplative prayer is quickly becoming the transition tool of choice to ultimately unite a compromised church with a wanton world through mysticism.
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…" - Romans 1:21-22
If you would like to know just who these Contemplative gurus are and what they're teaching today's young people, I would invite you to bookmark the following websites below #1, 2, and 3, where a wealth of information is available. Just because your son or daughter is an active member of a "traditional church," don't make the mistake of thinking they aren't being tempted to join in and experience this latest "Christian" craze.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." - 2nd Corinthians 6:14-17
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.
your child communicating with you by reading someone else's scripted speech
- or just repeating to you the very same words and phrases over and over
and over until their eyes roll back in the head. Do you honestly think
that would bring the two of you closer together?