This article is to help you understand the very real threat to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ that Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster brings through his corrupt teachings on Contemplative Spirituality. To fully do so, being that Foster himself is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), we must first shed some additional light on the unique Quaker doctrine of “the Inner Light.”

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. (John 1:9-10)

The Inner Light Of George Fox

We turn first to a book called The Living Testament: The Essential Writings of Christianity Since the Bible (TLT), recommended by Guru Foster in his own near classic book Celebration of Discipline. TLT was edited by M. Basil Pennington, Alan Jones, and Mark Booth, a couple of these men–Spiritual Master M. Basil Pennington and Living Spiritual Teacher Alan Jones–should be quite recognizable to those of you familiar with my writings on the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church and its core doctrine of Contemplative Spirituality.

While discussing their entry George Fox: Epistles to the New World and to Friends Everywhere in TLT we’re told:

George Fox (1624-1691) was the founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He preached reliance on the “Inner Light”, the Holy Spirit watching from within; in this he represented a development of the Puritan “spirit mystic” tradition. He believed that everyone has a divine spark within that can respond directly and personally to God. His plain open style has a peculiar force in enthusiasm and moral earnestness. (379,380, emphasis mine)

This false idea of an inner light, or a “divine spark,” which is supposedly in every person is a very key issue to grasp before one can come to understand the root of the flawed semi-pelagian “gospel” of the new evangelicalism within which Foster has now become a major player. I cover this spiritually fatal idea of “a divine spark” allegedly in all of mankind further in The Emergent “One”, but here I tell you in the Lord this idea is classic Gnostic mysticism, which itself has already been condemned within the pages of the New Testament itself. Particularly in the Book of Colossians and 1 John.

The Inner Light Is In Mankind Regardless Of Regeneration

Now we go to the Handbook Of Denominations In The United States for a bit more of an historic perspective concerning the mystic Fox:

The Society of Friends began with the vision of George Fox (1624-91), a British seeker after spiritual truth and peace during the turmoil of the English Civil War and its aftermath. After failing to find satisfactory truth and peace in the churches of his time, Fox discovered what he sought in a direct personal relationship with Christ

“When all my hopes in [churches] were gone… I heard a voice which said, ‘That is the Inner Voice, or Inner Light, based upon the description of John 1:9: the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)’ ” This voice, Fox maintained, is available to all and has nothing to do with the ceremonies, rituals, or creeds over which Christians have fought. Every heart is God’s altar and shrine (140,141, emphasis mine).

This idea in Quaker theology that every man has what Fox described as “the Inner Light” is further corroborated in GREAT RELIGIONS of the World which tells us that Fox “insisted that the ‘light of Christ’ glimmered in all men” (375, emphasis mine). You should be able to see that if this “inner light of Christ” is already supposed to be glimmering “in every human heart,” then we have effectively done away with the need for the doctrine of being “born again,” or regenerated by God the Holy Spirit through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

And then in his classic two volume set A History Of Christianity (AHOC) the great historian Kenneth Scott Latourette adds a bit more critical background information about the person through whom the Quakers originated:

Their founder was George Fox (1624-1691). Of humble birth, from boyhood he had heard Puritan preaching and had acquired an intimate familiarity with the text of the English Bible… For four years he suffered severe spiritual depression induced by the spectacle of human suffering,…and by the doctrine of predestination which he heard expounded from Puritan pulpits. By temperament a mystic, he was eager for direct and unhindered access to God

Eventually (1647) the light broke. He came to feel Christ could speak to “his condition,”… He believed that God is love and truth and that it is possible for all men so to open their lives to Him… [Fox] would follow and have others follow the Inner Light” (Vol. II, p. 822, emphasis mine)

Theology Based On Personal Experience

This above information is also extremely important regarding the spiritual excesses of the Quakers, which are now finding their way into evangelicalism through Richard Foster. To better understand what Foster is actually teaching it’s important to be able to see that an heretical view of mysticism is already rooted in the base theology of the Quakers. Their founder George Fox, who was himself prone to a mystic approach to spirituality, wished for a “personal” approach “to God” that ended up being a rejection of the proper spirituality taught in the Bible.

As such Fox began with his theology already turned backward by believing that it is man who seeks after God and as a result the Scriptures were forced to take a back seat to his own personal way of approaching the Lord. We need to very carefully consider the above information. Fox is seeking a “direct” and “mystical experience” with God. Admirable yes, but it is the LORD God Almighty–the glorious and transcendent Creator of the universe–Who set the prescribed means of interacting with us through conscious prayer and His Words in Holy Scripture.

To understand this doctrine of the “Inner Light,” so foundational to the Quakers, is to understand the reason why you will hear so many who practice Contemplative Spirituality and more and more leaders caught up in this new spirituality of the new evangelicalism saying that men will be saved whether they “know” Jesus Christ or not. What I have done for you here is to directly trace back one of these things taught by demons to its origin in the Gnostic mysticism which has resurfaced through deceiving spirits like George Fox.

Also notice above that Latourette, a very able historian, informs us Fox had ample opportunity to hear “Puritan preaching” and further that Fox knew Scripture very well as he “had acquired an intimate familiarity with the text of the English Bible.” Yet because he wanted to worship God in his own way Fox rejected the way the Lord instructs us to worship Him in Holy Scripture and was “eager” long enough while waiting “in silence” until “the light broke.” Here is another root for the rejection and outright hatred of Biblical Reformed theology by so many following the new evangelicalism. They often derogatorily refer to those of us who hold these truths as “fundies” or “TRs,” a mocking abbreviation meaning totally reformed.

Be that as it may, a honest and close examination of the evidence will allow one to see that Fox waited long enough until he finally received his mystical delusion that “it is possible for all men” to “open their lives” to God. As I said, the “experience” oriented theology of George Fox would end up shoving the absolute Truth of the Bible into a secondary place in favor of this unbiblical view that it is possible that all men are capable of opening themselves up to, or seeking God on their own. And clearly this would also appear to be a reaction on his part to the strong Biblical “Puritan preaching” which had assisted Fox in acquiring “an intimate familiarity with the text of the Bible.”

Man Does Not Seek God On His Own

For you see George Fox had absolutely no excuse for missing this critical Truth from God’s Word:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.(Psalm 14:1-3)

And it’s not like this is some obscure passage the Puritans happened to latch onto and is somehow open to various interpretations because it appears again in Psalm 51 below almost verbatim:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (vv.1-3).

And we aren’t able to escape this absolute Truth concerning the actual nature of mankind in the New Testament either. O the sappy sentimentality of new evangelicalism just loves to focus on the goodness of God and to tell us that He sent Jesus to meet our every need and to solve all of our problems. However, as I will continue to say, Christ Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator–the dreadful and awful–holy and majestic LORD God Almighty standing upon His planet. Then concerning the fallen nature of humankind the Master unequivocally tells his Own disciples:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Jesus even clarified what He meant by “though you are evil” as He goes on to say – “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (Mark 7:21-23). Why you’d almost have to think our Creator is trying to get a point across to arrogant and centered on the self mankind when later the inspired Apostle Paul is led by God the Holy Spirit to pick up those very same passages in the Psalms mentioned earlier:

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one (Romans 3:10-12)

No, you won’t hear all of this preached in The Ecumenical Church of Deceit, but the bottom line simply couldn’t be any clearer than Ecclesiastes 7:20 – There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. Ah, that is except – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One (1 John 2:1). So tragically, because George Fox denied this clear teaching from God’s Word, two major and spiritually fatal flaws came emerging in his theology.

Out went the Pastoral Epistles for God’s prescribed method of spiritual leadership within His local churches; and instead of objectively judging all experience by Holy Scripture, “the Quaker way” would become subjective mystical experience in “the Inner Light” as the means by which the Bible would then be interpreted. And it is this very same mortal theological wound of understanding the text of Holy Scripture by the spiritual experiences a given person may have which is also central to the faulty approach to the Bible of the Emergent Church itself where Guru Richard Foster is unquestionably “a key mentor.”