O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3, ESV)

Spiritual Formation Is Contemplative Spirituality

The Lord is truly amazing in how He works through His people. I shall attempt to put this as plainly as I know how as I previouly attempted to do in my piece Contemplative In The SBC. It wss already on my heart to alert the Body of Christ to a deadly deception looming much closer to you than you think and I went over to Slice of Laodicea to see what was the lastest blues and saw Ingrid Schlueter’s post National Pastor’s Convention: A Contemplative Fiesta. After personally investigating the ignominious issue of Contemplative Spirituality this past year, which is slithering into the mainstream of the evangelical camp under the guise of “spiritual formation,” I tell you in the Lord that it is the rotten root for this current anti-Refomation backlash we are currently seeing within so-called Protestant evangelicalism.

However, it is also an indisputable fact that this repainted and repackaged existential Gnosticism actually originated with Desert Hermits in the east circa 350AD. It is an indisputable fact that these fools adapted mind-numbing mantra meditation from Hinduism and Buddhism into an alleged “Christian” form. It is an indisputable fact that this whole fetid practice would then flower in the antibiblical monastic traditions of the apostate Church of Rome. You can read about this for yourself of page 70 of the book The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life by Tony Jones. Jones is a well-known theologian in the Emergent Church and yet you can still order his book chocked full of apostate and heretical practices of Contemplative/Centering Prayer right through Lifeway Christian Stores of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Leaving that foolishness aside for now, I turn now to another book which I have personally read called Spiritual Direction by Thomas Merton, who knew a lot more about this skubalon than maybe any of us living today. Merton wrote: “spiritual direction is a monastic concept. It is a practice which was unnecessary until men withdrew from the Christian community in order to live as solitaries in the desert (11).” Now consider this as the murky mystic waters in the corrupt kettle you are being immersed in continue to slowly come to a boil, the Guru of Contemplation the Living Spiritual Teacher (HELLO!) Richard Foster says that Merton “priceless wisdom for all Christians who long to go deeper in the spiritual life.” Um, right. Sure he does Jezebel.

Men and women, please permit me to put this into perspective for you. Today in the American Christian Church we are in such an apostasy that evangelical “Protestant” churches are bringing in Richard Foster, an extremely ecumenical Quaker who believes in an “Inner Light” (aka the Holy Spirit/Christ) that is supposedly already inside every man to teach Christian spirituality. And among the spirituality fatal false things he is going to teach you is that an apostate Roman Catholic mystical monk, who once stood in reverent awe before giant statues of Buddha, has alleged “priceless wisdom” for God’s true people. Just exactly how far from Christ’s Voice do you have to get before you recognize the “hiss” of Satan? So don’t listen to me, Phil Johnson, director of Dr. John MacArthur’s Grace to You ministries told me that he’d met Foster and that he didn’t even think Foster understands the Gospel in the first place.

But What About Spiritual Formation?

So, do I believe in spiritual formation? You bet I do; though in the Bible though we are called to make disciples to go out and be like Christ, not to pursue some centered of self inward spiritual journey. Let me give you a quick example; the young man whom I had the privilege of leading to Christ a couple of years ago returned yesterday to the little fellowship Connecticut River Baptist Church where I am pastor. Only Ryan brought two others along with him, his parents. You see, they informed us during the service that they had also given their lives to Christ because of what they’d seen God do in Ryan. They said he’s a completely different person and that they also wanted this for themselves. And they are right, he is. How great was that! Hearing that Ryan’s parents had come to Christ because of what He’s doing in their son’s life and now our church was doubled in a day.

Now, one might ask do I take any credit for this? Absolutely not. I was only doing what I am supposed to do as a pastor. Feed the sheep and keep them close to the Great Shepherd. Among other places in the Bible the principle is found in the following and not through some silly course in Spiritual Formation/Direction – And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). And in taking that further, I sure didn’t have to sit around chanting Christ’s Name and then attempting to become one with creation in order to allow God to use me. No, all I did was to simply follow the Example of Christ Jesus the Master Teacher as well as the wise advice of true men of God whom He had sent out as teachers before me.

For example men like Oswald Chambers and this great advice found within his solid Biblical teaching The Consecration of Spiritual Energy:

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

If I brood on the Cross of Christ, I do not become a subjective pietist, interested in my own whiteness; I become dominantly concentrated on Jesus Christ’s interests. Our Lord was not a recluse nor an ascetic, He did not cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in an other world. He was so much in the ordinary world that the religious people of His day called Him a glutton and a wine-bibber. Our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual energy.

The counterfeit of consecration is the conscious cutting off of things with the idea of storing spiritual power for use later on, but that is a hopeless mistake. The Spirit of God has spoiled the sin of a great many, yet there is no emancipation, no fullness in their lives. The kind of religious life we see abroad to-day is entirely different from the robust holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” We are to be in the world but not of it; to be disconnected fundamentally, not externally.

We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual energy. Consecration is our part, sanctification is God’s part; and we have deliberately to determine to be interested only in that in which God is interested. The way to solve perplexing problems is to ask – Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or the kind of thing in which the spirit that is the antipodes of Jesus is interested? (My Utmost For His Highest, 246,247)