“…take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ ”
(Matthew 18:16)

The Murky Mystic Shadows Of Spurious Spiritual Formation Looms Closer To You

In a court of law it is a common occurrence for trial lawyers to bring in expert witnesses from specialized fields in order to instruct a jury and/or help the lawyer to bolster their case through the expert’s ability to speak as an authority in their given field. There is a risk involved however. You see once this expert is placed on the witness stand the door is then opened for the opposing attorney to cross-examine this expert themselves.

So while one attorney might wish to simply focus the expert’s testimony to a limited area, the other attorney may then bring in additional issues relevant to the testimony, which could call into question the reliability of this expert’s testimony. It’s then up to the jury to assess whether the expert in question is in fact knowledgeable, credible, accurate, etc. In other words it is imperative that jurors test the over-all character and teachings of these witnesses in order to more fully evaluate the validity of their testimony.

The main point I’m attempting to bring to your attention here is just because someone makes a claim to be something, it does not necessarily follow that these experts really are everything you are told that they are. And it certainly doesn’t mean that they are truly proficient in whatever their vocation happens to be. As we enter the realm of the Christian faith our Lord Jesus teaches us that the very same principle of judging character applies here as well — “Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment” (John 7:24).

With this in mind then as a continuing series Apprising Ministries is seeking to help the Body of Christ to “question” various teachers so often appealed to as “expert witnesses” for what I see as a counterfeit form of Christianity through their neo-pagan “spiritual disciplines” of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), e.g. Who Is Henri Nouwen? It’s my contention that this CSM is a growing and corrupt spiritual blight, which is currently spreading apostasy under the guise of Spiritual Formation throughout the evangelical camp as explosively as an Oklahoma wildfire.

And if you think I exaggerate then consider Christianity Today Promoting The Cult of Richard Foster where I show you that the current September 2008 issue of CT features an interview embracing Quaker mystic Richard Foster as a teacher of proper Christian spirituality. Consider that a few pages later in the same issue there’s a puff piece on Emergent Church Guru Brian McLaren by Emerging Church theologian Scot McKnight and you should see that this postliberal cult will now be cemented within the mainstream of the evangelical community.

But you tell me: Since when were Quaker mystics like Richard Foster evangelicals? And when did the following become proper Protestant theology? The below is from an excellent in-depth analysis of Mysticism in which Dr. Gary Gilley discusses Celebration of Discipline the book foundational for The Cult of Roshi Richard Foster:

Celebration of Discipline, alone, not even referencing Foster’s other writings and teachings and ministries, is a virtual encyclopedia of theological error. We would be hard pressed to find in one so-called evangelical volume such a composite of false teaching. These include faulty views on the subjective leading of God (pp. 10, 16-17, 18, 50, 95, 98, 108-109, 128, 139-140, 149-150, 162, 167, 182); approval of New Age teachers (see Thomas Merton below); occultic use of imagination (pp. 25-26, 40-43, 163, 198); open theism (p. 35); misunderstanding of the will of God in prayer (p. 37); promotion of visions, revelations and charismatic gifts (pp. 108, 165, 168-169, 171, 193); endorsement of rosary and prayer wheel use (p. 64); misunderstanding of the Old Testament Law for today (pp. 82, 87); mystical journaling (p. 108); embracing pop-psychology (pp. 113-120); promoting Roman Catholic practices such as use of “spiritual directors,” confession and penance (pp. 146-150, 156, 185); and affirming of aberrant charismatic practices (pp. 158-174, 198).
(Online source)

As the Lord leads and funding allows AM will be seeking to provide more information about these expert witnesses, whom various teachers of CSM so often put on the witness stand as authorities. And they are brought in to bolster a faulty approach to Christian spirituality which was not taught by Christ or His Apostles; but rather, flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism.

The hope is that then you will have the resources you need to properly test the character and teachings of these alleged expert teachers within CSM in order to see if they do indeed measure up to what Scripture teaches is a proper approach to Christian spirituality. Because when all is said and done this doomed love affair evangelicals are having with corrupt CSM is an attack on the Reformation doctrine sola Scriptura.

It truly is as pastor Bob DeWaay recently brought out in his exceptional article Why Evangelicals Are Returning to Rome: The Abandonment of Sola Scriptura as a Formal Principle:

Apparently, contemporary evangelicals have forgotten that sola scriptura (scripture alone) was the formal principle of the Reformation. Teachings and practices that could not be justified from Scripture were rejected on that principle. To endorse a trip back to these practices of ancient Roman Catholicism is to reject the principle of sola scriptura being the normative authority for the beliefs and practices of the church. In this article I will explore how modern evangelicalism has compromised the principle of sola scriptura and thus paved smoothly the road back to Rome.

Today at least three large movements within Protestantism claim to be new “reformations.” If we examine them closely we will find evidence that sola scriptura has been abandoned as a governing principle—if not formally, at least in practice. To have a new reformation requires the repudiation of the old Reformation. That in turn requires the repudiation of the formal principle of the Reformation. That’s where we’ll begin… (Online source)

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