In Part One of this series Apprising Ministries showed you that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) of the Southern Baptist Convention isn’t even attempting to hide its open embrace of corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) and its Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP), which flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism, i.e. no longer Christian.

With an able assist from ordained Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard currently The Cult of Guru Richard Foster is conditioning more and more mainstream evangelical pastors, leaders, and ministers (think frog in the kettle) through spurious Spiritual Formation (SF) courses in college and/or seminary to see this CSM as a viable approach to God. And AM reminds you that primary among the textbooks used in these SF classes, not only in SBC seminaries but in most evangelical schools, are works by Willard and his associate Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic “Roshi” Richard Foster from which their so-called “spiritual disciplines” largely culled from heretical Roman Catholic and Quaker mystics is then taught.

But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Dr. Wendy Edwards “Not” Recommends Spiritual Director Jan Johnson

Specific now to BSCNC once again would be “Spiritual Formation Coach” Dr. Wendy Edwards of the Office of Prayer for Evangelization & Spiritual Awakening, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and her SpiritLines Newsletters (SLN). In the November 2007 SLN SF Coach Edwards shares with us about “Christian Meditation.” Under “Christian Meditation Helps” we are pointed to some of the following books “for informational purposes only. This is not an exhaustive or recommended list”:

Edwards, Tilden. Living in the Presence: Spiritual Exercises to Open Our Lives to the Awareness of God. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995.

Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1978, 1988.

Guyon, Jeanne. Experiencing God through Prayer. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House Publishers, 1984.

Johnson, Jan. When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer. Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1999.

Stepping around decidedly dubious sources of errant information like Tilden Edwards of the Shalem Institute For Spiritual Formation, Roshi Richard Foster and Jeanne Guyon for now, I wish to focus our attention here on Jan Johnson. I begin by telling you that fellow SBC minister Dallas Willard happens to be 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 may wonder, so what? Well, one of the books in this series would be When The Soul Listens: Finding Rest And Direction In Contemplative Prayer (WtSL) by “retreat speaker” Jan Johnson recommended…oops, make that “not” recommended, by SF Guru Edwards under “Christian Meditation Resources” that she wants you to be aware of in the issue of SLN referenced above, but *ahem* is not recommending.

So I guess whether or not this is a recommendation by our SF Coach would, as another prominent Southern Baptist has said, depend upon what the meaning of the word is…um, is. Anyway, Jan Johnson tells us that she, ah—is, “a writer, speaker and spiritual director in southern California.” And interestingly enough under “Teaching” at her Website we read Johnson’s been “lectio divina instructor for Dallas Willard’s Fuller Seminary class: Spirituality and Ministry.”

Among her writings she lists Dallas Willard’s Study Guide to the Divine Conspiracy. And Johnson also recommends that:

For more in-depth information and exercises, take a look at my book Savoring God’s Word, which explains both lectio divina and Ignatian style meditation in detail. (Online source)

O, and another SBC outlet also “not” recommending Jan Johnson’s WtSL is Lifeway Christian Stores. There Southern Baptists may purchase this book in which:

Jan Johnson encourages readers to get away from the formulas and ten-step plans to discover true contemplative prayer. Readers will discover that listening to God and learning to interact with Him through prayer is the real answer to a deeper relationship with Him… ‘When The Soul Listens’ offers a clear path to a fulfilling connection with God. (Online source)

Entering The Spiritual Twilight Zone In The Silence Of “Christian” Meditation

In WtSL Johnson gives us the following instruction about the meditation of CCP:

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 universalist 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)

As a matter of fact we note below that Southern Baptist SF Roshi Edwards herself has apparently heard it and has now relinquished herself to this deception as well. In the March 2007 “Silence” edition of SLN Edwards regurgitates the same ol’ CSM mantra of mindless mystic meditation as she also *wink* not recommends Nouwen:

The spiritual practice of silence has proven helpful to spiritual seekers throughout history in seeking genuine experiences of God’s presence. Yet we all know that wholeheartedly engaging silence is quite a challenge… Quieting the inner noise, putting aside all the thoughts, concerns, fears, needs, and problems that fill our minds takes intentionality and effort. It does not come easy for most of us. That is why silence observance is referred to as discipline. We have to discipline ourselves in order to be still and hear God.

I’ve come to appreciate numerous resources that have helped me develop a desire for silence and learn to engage and even enjoy being silent in God’s presence. I’ve come to crave personal silent moments alone with God as well as silent moments shared with spiritual friends in small groups and silent moments amidst worship. A few of these helpful tools are listed as follows…

Nouwen, Henri J. M. The Way of The Heart. New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1981. (Online source)

By the way, for more on the messed-up mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon mentioned a couple of times earlier in this piece I will refer you to The Mindless Mysticism of Madame Guyon by Personal Freedom Outreach. And in closing this for now let me 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. You may also wish to know that Guru Edwards herself also, um, not recommends AToD in the December 2007 SLN under “Spiritual Formation Resources.”

However, on page 3 of my copy of AToD let point out to you that mystic Kelly shares the heretical Quaker doctrine that God is already dwells within all mankind. But this teaching itself is actually a mythical musing of classic mysticism often referred to as “the divine spark” or “a spark of the divine.”

In fact 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.

But casting these mythical mystic musings back to Hell where they belong, I now proclaim to you, no; “He” is not. Since I cover in detail this blasphemous idea in Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind here I will simply remind you that 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 SBC women like Dr. Wendy Edwards and SBC men like Dallas Willard are introducing into the Southern Baptist Convention—and to the Body of Christ at large—under the covert cover of spiritual formation. But don’t be fooled because this SF skubalon is really just Eastern religious teachings repacked for careless Christians in the West.