They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans. (Isaiah 2:6 )

Silence And Solitude Among Evangelical Leaders Concerning CSM

Following below Apprising Ministries brings you a quote from ordained Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard, who works closely with Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster. And together they are busy spreading Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM)—which flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions apostate Roman Catholicism—throughout the Body of Christ under the cloak of so-called Spiritual Formation.

Willard will be discussing “Christian” mediation from his book The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (SoD), which mind you, no less an authority than Roshi Foster himself says is, “Essential guidance for spiritual growth.” As one who specifically studies this CSM I will tell you that when you see references to “solitude and silence” you are being encouraged toward the practice Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).

And the fact is that CCP is a type of Transcendental Meditation that has been lightly coated with Christian terms. In Thomas Keating Guidelines for Contemplative/Centering Prayer you’ll see that Living Spiritual Teacher and mystic Thomas Keating—who has forgotten more about CCP than most will ever know—tells you that CCP:

is a process of inner transformation, a conversation initiated by God and leading, if we consent, to divine union. One’s way of seeing reality changes in the process. A restructuring of consciousness takes place which empowers one to perceive, relate and respond with increasing sensitivity to the divine presence in, through, and beyond everything that exists. (Open Mind, Open Heart, 4, emphasis mine)

So now you really know what Dallas Willard is talking about below as he quotes deceased apostate Roman Catholic priests Thomas Merton—truly a Golden Buddha of CSM—Thomas à Kempis and Henri Nouwen concerning the “value” of this “solitude” and “silence” of CCP. O, and believe it or not, all of this Romish CSM is now actually completely consistent with the doctrine of more and more of the leadership within the “Protestant” evangelical Southern Baptist Convention.

Say for example, within the entire state convention in North Carolina; as I show in Apostasy, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) in the SBC And Disease in the Church. If you happen to think all of this is much ado about nothing; then you’d best think again, because this CSM under the guise of Spiritual Formation is as close as your pastor’s bookshelf, which very likely contains the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster—or even worse.

“Christian” Transcendental Meditation In The Silence Of Solitude

In SoD Dallas Willard explains:

In solitude we find psychic distance, the perspective from which we can see, in the light of eternity, the created things that trap, worry, and oppress us. Thomas Merton writes:

That is the only reason why I desire solitude—to be lost to all created things, to die to them and to the knowledge of them, for they remind me of my distance from You: that You are far from them, even though You are in them. You have made them and Your presence sustains their being and they hide You from me. And I would live alone, and out of them O beata solituo!

But solitude, like all of the disciplines of the spirit, carries its risks. In solitude, we confront our own soul with its obscure forces and conflicts…solitude is generally the most fundamental in the beginning of the spiritual life, and it must be returned to again and again as that life develops. This factual priority of solitude is, I believe, a sound element in monastic asceticism…

Thomas à Kempis distilled more of what was right in the monastic calling than any other, and he had this to say:

The great holy men, where they might, fled fellowship and chose to live with God in secret places. One said: As ofttimes, as I was among men I cam back a less man, that is to say less holy. . . . In silence and quiet the devout soul profiteth and learneth the secrets of the scriptures. . . .

Silence goes beyond solitude, and without it solitude has little effect. Henri Nouwen observes that “silence is the way to make solitude a reality”… Silence and solitude do go hand in hand, usually. Just as silence is vital to make solitude real, so is solitude needed to make the discipline of silence complete. (161, 162, 163)

By the way, the quote used by Dallas Willard above from Thomas Merton is from his Thoughts in Solitude. I happen to have that book, and for those who think that these men are talking about “meditation” merely as in thinking about God’s Word, the mystic monk Merton corrects your misconception:

Spiritual life in not mental life. It is not thought alone… Useless to try and meditate merely by “thinking”—still worse to meditate by stringing words together, reviewing an army of platitudes. (27)

Then just a couple of pages after the quote Willard uses in his SoD Merton will go on to tell us:

When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but to the living of it, I can discover a form of prayer in which there is effectively no distraction. My whole life becomes a prayer. My whole silence is full of prayer. The world of silence in which I am immersed contributes to my prayer. (93)

And the silence that Merton is speaking of here is that of CCP. In fact in Merton’s book Contemplative Prayer we read:

Our Christian brothers and sisters know that God is love. This prayer is a practice to help us touch love… This kind of prayer is also contemplation, meditation, and practice. It generates spirituality in every moment of our daily life. In this wonderful book, Contemplative Prayer, Thomas Merton shares with us his own deep and nondualistic understanding of prayer and meditation. Like their Buddhist counterparts, many practitioners refrain from excessive analytical scrutiny of the Scriptures. (3,4)

But of course; no, we wouldn’t want the Word of God to go and contradict our experiences now, would we. O, and FYI the above actually comes from Merton’s good friend and meditation mate Living Spiritual Teacher and Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Turning To The Myths Of Mysticism Telling Us What We Want To Hear

Among the many hats he wears you should know that SBC minister Dallas Willard is also the General Editor of the Spiritual Formation Line published by NavPress, a “line [that] is designed to contribute to this renewed vision of Christian spiritual formation.” One of the books in this series is When The Soul Listens: Finding Rest And Direction In Contemplative Prayer (WtSL) by “spiritual director and retreat speaker” Jan Johnson. And in it she tells us that:

The two primary tools of the contemplative way are the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude… Madame Jeanne Guyon, a sought-after counselor and author of the seventeenth-century classic Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, wrote that two kinds of people keep silent:

The first is one who has nothing to say, and the other is one who has too much to say. In the case of the deeper encounter with the Lord, the latter is true. Silence is produced from [abundant life in God], not from lack. This silence is rich, full and alive!

… Both silence and solitude require discipline at first, but then they become enjoyable and refreshing… Thomas Kelly assures us. It is not an arduous task, but “nothing more than turning our heart toward God and receiving in turn His love.” (79, 80, 81)

Next Johnson goes on to speculate, “In solitary silence, we encounter the love of God,” but then she quotes Roman Catholic mystic Henri Nouwen to caution us that if we really want God to touch us, “It requires a lot of inner solitude and silence” (82), i.e. so-called “Christian” meditation. She also wants us to know in WtSL that, “Silence and solitude are the outward, physical manifestations of the inward surrender of the heart.” Johnson explains that in CCP aka meditation:

We relinquish talking, analyzing, and enjoying the company of others in order to attend only to God. This relinquishment is crucial. “We have all heard this holy Whisper at times,” wrote Thomas Kelly, a Quaker college professor… “[But w]e have not surrendered all else, to attend to it alone.” (83)

For more on the messed-up mystic Madam Guyon I will refer you to The Mindless Mysticism of Madame Guyon by the fine discernment ministry Personal Freedom Outreach in order that I might briefly enlighten you concerning Thomas R. Kelly, yet another spiritually corrupt Quaker mystic. Johnson’s quotes of Kelly come from his A Testament of Devotion where on page 3 Kelly shares the heretical Quaker doctrine that God is already dwells within all mankind. But this itself is actually classic mysticism referred to as “the divine spark” or “a spark of the divine.”

Kelly himself begins by quoting a veritable superstar of mysticism:

Meister Eckhart wrote: “As thou art in church or cell, that same frame of mind carry into the world, into its turmoil and its fitfulness” Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctu [sic] of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice,…the Light within,… It is the Shekinah of the soul, the Presence in the midst. Here is the slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And He is within us all.

Casting these mythical mystic musings back to Hell; I proclaim to you no, He is not. As it is written:

Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:8-9)

Yet amazingly men and women, it is exactly this kind of neopagan nonsense that men like Dallas Willard are introducing into the Body of Christ under the cover of spiritual formation. And not so surprisingly in this New Downgrade No-Controversy evangelical leaders simply sleep on…

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