Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 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. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:5-10)

Your “True Self” Is Alienated From God By Sin

The root of the current lack of spiritual vigor among professing Christians can be found in that passage above from the Book of Romans. Let’s look at the first part of verse 5 again — Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires. Could there be a more fitting statement to describe what the American Christian Church has become? The King James Version of the Bible reads – they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh. The Christian faith was once advanced by a robust people who cherished the teachings of their Lord and who loved to offer the opportunity for others to come to Him.

But today what is passing for the Church of Jesus Christ here in America has become a spiritually arrogant, centered on the self, people who are now enslaved by that love of their own self; and this always leads to spiritual corruption. The truth is that what you think about, and what you desire in your heart, will tell you a lot about your-self. Let me also note that our pagan culture does still use the word “heart” in the same context as does the Bible, in that when we say, “I believe this with all my heart” we mean: I believe this way down deep inside myself.

However, through corrupt Contemplative/Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) and its so-called “Christian” meditation of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP)—which flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism—we now have an over-emphasis about the awareness of self that is actually at the root of our dilemma of sin. Our sinful human nature, our body—aka the flesh—all wrapped up together with our heart, is what we are powerless to harness on our own and it is also what leads us to rebel against our loving Creator.

Even in the hardly controversial Evangelical Dictionary of Theology we read:

In the biblical perspective, sin is not only an act of wrongdoing but a state of alienation from God… It signifies the rupture of a personal relationship with God, a betrayal of the trust He places in us…sin (harmartia) is not just a conscious transgression of [God’s] law but a [weakening] ongoing state of [hatred of] God…sin…can be thought of as [an evil], personal power that holds [all of] humanity in its grasp. (1103)

The Detaching To Go Within Ourselves For Supposed Enlightenment

Enter highly revered Golden Buddha of CSM Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), who was a universalist Roman Catholic priest, and yet has still become the darling of evangelicals enamored with so-called Spiritual Formation. Concerning the alleged “inward journey” of this spurious CSM in the book Henri Nouwen: A Spirituality of Imperfection biographer Wil Hernandez, who “teaches a course on the spirituality of Henri Nouwen at Fuller Theological Seminary” tells us:

This deep experience of ourselves captures the nature of our inward journey. Henri Nouwen himself embarked on what journalist Philip Yancey calls a form of “inward mobility” wherein “[h]e withdrew in order to look inward, to learn how to love God and be loved by God.” Such movement is best realized in the context of solitude. In solitude, we can pay closer attention to our inner self and consequently become present to our own experience…

Our inward ability to relate to and be at home with our own self is what enables us to live from the center of our existence and thereby relate with others in terms of who we are and not so much by what we do… Reaching into our inmost being connects us to the reality of our own soul—that mystical reality that Henri Nouwen simply calls the heart. (22)

As touching as that myth is the fact remains that through the Apostle Paul God the Holy Spirit, by the way this is also the Spirit of Jesus, tells us a little something about our “inmost being” — “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh”(Romans 7:18, NASB) And this also is confirmed by our Creator Christ Jesus of Nazareth when He called His Own disciples “evil” by nature in Matthew 7:11.

But this supposed inward journey [I’ve come to hate that word] to one’s true self is central to the warped and toxic semi-pelagian [man-centered] theology of CSM. It’s little wonder because a major champion of this semi-pelagian compromise was a man by the name of John Cassian. Now read on as Emergent Church anti-theologian Tony Jones explains from his book The Sacred Way just where the “Church” got this TM for the Christian known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer, which is the magic carpet that one rides upon for this inward journey.

The following is from the Apprising Ministries article The Origin of Contemplative/Centering Prayer:

“Like the Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer grew out of the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers. John Cassian (c.360-c.430) came from the West and made a pilgrimage to the desert to learn the ways of contemplative prayer … Cassian was deeply influenced by his time in the desert, and he wrote his book The Conferences about his conversations with the Desert Fathers to acquaint Western Christians with their teachings. (70, emphasis mine)

So as I have said before, we can clearly see in the above that “the Jesus Prayer,” as well as “Centering Prayer,” actually arose through “the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers” who borrowed adapted it from pagan religions such as Buddhism. And further we find out that this type of mystic meditation was unknown prior to these apostate Desert Fathers circa 4th century. There is absolutely no historic record anywhere of Jesus Himself practicing the mumbo jumbo of CSM, He did not teach it when asked by His disciples how to pray, and they did not teach it in the Apostles doctrine that is our New Testament.

However, those who really want to know the truth as to why meditation, and specifically Zen Buddhism, is such a draw to other Golden Buddhas of CSM, e.g. such as Christian Roshi Richard Foster and his sidekick Swami Dallas Willard, as well as Guru Brian McLaren and his disciple Rabbi Rob Bell, the following from Dr. Walter Martin will prove most *ahem* enlightening. In Martin’s lecture on Zen Buddism back in the late 70’s, he has some real truth for those who are stupidly submerging within themselves through this spurious CSM, which is a severely misguided so-called “Christian” mysticism:

The sad fact is that today people are looking at themselves and trying to see into—to understand and to comprehend their own nature apart from the Bible. However, the deeper you go into your own nature, the more you find out that God’s Word is true — the heart [of man] is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?( Jeremiah 17:9). You can sit cross-legged on the floor and have all the late night pseudo-intellectual conversations that you want to. You can study all the philosophy you want—and contemplate stones—and contemplate pools of water or spiders spinning webs. Hey, you can contemplate an old sack of potatoes if you want to; whatever it is you want to concentrate on.

But the truth is you are never really going to understand what’s wrong with you, and why you keep doing things that hurt others and that hurt yourself, until you recognize that man fell from his state of fellowship with God in the garden of Eden. And that this fall is not remedied by looking inside yourself, that fall is remedied by outside yourself to God—who in Jesus Christ on the Cross reconciled the world to Himself. You see, [from the influx of] these eastern cultic structures, which forms the basis for this New Age-type thinking everybody now is looking within themselves.

In Christianity God has us look out to the Cross and to the Resurrection. That is our only deliverance-through faith in Jesus Christ. The end result of this other selfish kind of philosophy is that man is taught to float along like a ping pong ball skirting over the “troubled waters” of life. What a magnificent picture of self — the sinful nature! The world around us is a churning cesspool of depravity, and do we then plunge into this filthiness with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring men and women and young people to a redemptive knowledge of the Master—and to freedom from sin—and the power to walk with God?

Or do we tell them that the ultimate in life is to so detach oneself from humanity and its concerns as to rise to the top of the cesspool and float along like the proverbial ping pong ball? Which way really is both practical, meaningful, and that which will produce the most for mankind? Quite obviously it’s going to be the productive world of plunging in preaching, living, answering, proclaiming and then seeing the power of God the Holy Spirit touch the lives and the souls of people and to bring them out of the cesspool of sin to glory and eternal life in Christ Jesus.
(Zen Buddhism, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

And now you should be able to see why these fools professing to be wise would rather teach others to look within than to look outside at the suffering, bleeding Savior and then have to deal with the scandalon of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

See also: