My research on a Southern Baptist pastor who insists that our God and Allah are one and the same, made me curious as to what other errant teachings might also abound. Suddenly, I realized that I was seeing only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30 (KJV)
It seems that the Emergent Church which teaches Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) has slithered its way into our Southern Baptist churches. The proper spirituality of the Christian, being sola Scriptura, is being replaced by spiritual mysticism, which can be traced back to the Roman Catholic church.
From Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:
“Leaving this aside now the evangelical community is embarking upon a very dangerous spiritual game of Russian roulette embracing highly subjective Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), such as that taught by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin and Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard. Sadly this is yet another bad by-product of its welcoming in the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church, of which that dubious duo were key mentors.
You may know that CSM is merely repackaged Roman Catholic mysticism and was a core doctrine of the EC from its hatching in hell; in addition it plays a critical role as the neo-Gnostic foundation of its new postmodern version of Progressive Christian theology under their spiritual circus “big tent” Emergence Christianity. As spurious CSM now spreads as leaven throughout the entire lump of the church visible it’s become the cause of a growing syncretism; and without a doubt one of the biggest syncretists within evangelicalism is the religious chameleon Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren.” – source
When preachers lose sight of their need to depend on and teach from the Word of God alone, their lofty and contrived ideas land them on a slippery slope which eventually leads to total apostasy.
Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Life/Church fame, has been on the slippery slope for most of his time as a pastor. He is not grounded in God’s Word, so he is vulnerable to being deceived and then deceiving others along the way. The people are loving what he’s selling. He keeps packing them into his “bigtop” and the circus keeps getting crazier.
Rick Warren has called the Pope “The Pope of all Christians.” I am a Christian, and I will tell you right now that the Pope is NOT my Pope — he has no significance to me in my walk with God. After Rick Warren’s PDL book came out and was on the NY Times best seller list for many months, he automatically assumed that the success of his book was proof that God was blessing his ministry. Perhaps it never dawned on him that Satan has been happy to help guide people away from the truth of the Word.
Then came the Purpose Driven Church, and I found out that Warren was emailing his propaganda to Southern Baptist pastors across the world on a weekly basis. Discernment is one of the greatest gifts from the Lord. But in order to discern spirits, one must go to the only source that is reliable, and that is God’s Holy Word. When one has the Word in their hearts and minds from reading the Bible, then discernment becomes second nature. But still we are admonished to compare what we hear or read against His holy Word.
God’s Word Must Reign Supreme in His Followers’ Hearts, Minds and Spirits
Rick Warren has now jumped on the CSM bandwagon, and in turn has given the green light to his pastor followers. Warrens’ love for the RCC has been spreading as well. The Southern Baptist Convention is, sorry to say, an ineffective corporate entity, which does not get involved in Baptist churches who are shifting away from Baptist doctrine into the New Age of CSM. I spoke with one of the SBC leaders, and he confirmed this to me. I felt like I was speaking to a politician.
When I was saved in 1983, the couple who led me to Christ belonged to a Charismatic church. When I left that church (it was far to drive) I sought out a church similar to my first church. What did I know? I came from Judaism into to being a Jewish Christian. I knew virtually nothing about denominations and such.
I did know that the new charismatic church made me very uncomfortable. People stood up on Sunday mornings, and said “I have a word of knowledge” or “Thus saith God.” Sometimes, they would have visions and speak in tongues with no interpreter present. I read my Bible constantly, and something was very wrong — I could feel it. How did I know if these words spoken from people were Words from God? Couldn’t they be from the person? And in that case, why would I need to know these words?
Southern Baptist churches
I wound up in a SBC church. I felt safer there. I believed that the Southern Baptist churches were Biblically sound and trustworthy – well at least the one I was attending. I didn’t have to worry about people standing up and grabbing a microphone, to impart something from God. I believed that everything I would want to know from the Lord, was in His Word.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 2: 16-17 (KJV)
No church on this earth is perfect because they are all made up of people. But the Lord wants leadership to be looking to Him in prayer, and His Word for teaching. Unfortunately, many Southern Baptist churches are looking to Rick Warren for direction. VERY dangerous.
Contemplative Spirituality and Mysticism
What is Contemplative Spirituality? I took this straight from gotquestions.org:
Question: “What is contemplative spirituality?”
Answer: Contemplative spirituality is an extremely dangerous practice for any person who desires to live a biblical, God-centered life. It is most commonly associated with the emerging church movement, which is riddled with false teachings. It is also used by many different groups that have little, if any, connection with Christianity.
In practice, contemplative spirituality is primarily centered on meditation, although not meditation with a biblical perspective. Passages such as Joshua 1:8 actually exhort us to meditate: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Notice what the focus of meditation should be—the Word of God. Contemplative spirituality-driven meditation focuses on nothing, literally. A practitioner is exhorted to completely empty his/her mind, to just “be.” Supposedly, this helps one to open up to a greater spiritual experience. However, we are exhorted in Scripture to transform our minds to that of Christ’s, to have His mind. Emptying our minds is contrary to such active, conscious transformation.
Contemplative spirituality also encourages the pursuit of a mystical experience with God. Mysticism is the belief that knowledge of God, spiritual truth, and ultimate reality can be gained through subjective experience. This emphasis on experiential knowledge erodes the authority of Scripture. We know God according to His Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word is complete. There is no reason to believe that God adds additional teachings or truths to His Word through mystical experiences. Instead, our faith and what we know about God is based on fact.
The website for the Center for Contemplative Spirituality sums it up well: “We come from a variety of secular and religious backgrounds and we each seek to enrich our journey through spiritual practice and study of the world’s great spiritual traditions. We desire to draw closer to the loving Spirit which pervades all creation and which inspires our compassion for all beings.” There is absolutely nothing biblical about such goals. Studying the world’s “spiritual traditions” is an exercise in futility because any spiritual tradition other than that which exalts Christ is falsehood. The only way to draw closer to God is through the path He has ordained—Jesus Christ and the Word. – source
In my research of the Baptist pastor who believes that God and Allah are the same, I noticed that he was also bringing “Catholic” practices into his church. He has been talking to his congregation about Lent. He is also all about ecumenism and seems very willing to unite for unity’s sake, even seeing that choice diluting the message of Jesus Christ, and blurring the lines between the RCC and Evangelical Christians, and in his case, even Islam! I believe this is his intent.
Everywhere we look “evangelicals” are turning to Roman Catholic styles of contemplative spirituality (which in many cases were borrowed from pagan sources), such as ritualistic rote prayers, chanting, meditation, centering prayer, the use of prayer beads, Stations of the Cross, lectio divina, labyrinths, and “the daily office.”
The cover story for the February 2008 issue of Christianity Today was “The Future Lies in the Past,” and it describes the “lost secrets of the ancient church” that are being rediscovered by evangelicals. The ancient church in question happens to be the Roman Catholic, beginning with the so-called “church fathers” of the early centuries.
The article observes that many young evangelicals dislike both “traditional Christianity” and the seeker sensitive churches. Traditional Christianity is described as too focused on “being right,” too much into “Bible studies” and “apologetics materials.” Instead, the young evangelicals are lusting after “a renewed encounter with a God” that goes beyond “doctrinal definitions.” This, of course, is a perfect definition of mysticism. It refers to experiencing God beyond the boundaries of Scripture.
Christianity Today recommends that evangelicals “stop debating” and just “embody Christianity.” Toward this end they should “embrace symbols and sacraments” and dialogue with “Catholicism and Orthodoxy”; they should “break out the candles and incense” and pray the “lectio divina” and learn the “Catholic ascetic disciplines” from “practicing monks and nuns.”
Christianity Today says that this “search for historic roots” will lead “to a deepening ecumenical conversation, and a recognition by evangelicals that the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are fellow Christians with much to teach us.”
This is a no-holds-barred invitation to Catholic mysticism, and it will not lead to light but to the same darkness that has characterized Rome throughout its history, and it will lead beyond Rome to the paganism from which Rome originally borrowed its “contemplative practices.” – source
I am not surprised at all by Christianity Today’s remarks. It seems that they have been an apostate outfit for a very long time.
I used to watch Dr. Ed Young on TV when the kids were small. I loved him. It grieves me to tell you that he has bought into the Emerging church practices, lock stock and barrel. Satan is deceiving these formerly sound teachers of God’s Word.
Brethren, this is just more proof that we must be in the end of the end times. Who would have ever thought that the Southern Baptist Church would be joyfully receiving these mystical, New Age practices into their sanctuaries? Who would have ever thought that the Evangelical churches would be cozying up to the Roman Catholic Church?
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).