In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

“We So Sleepy; But Tell Us Some More Stories Richard!”

Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989), author of the classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults, was widely recognized as one of the foremost defenders of what he would so often call “the historic orthodox Christian faith.” Hardly “a fighting fundy,” a moniker one attaches to someone today in order to dismiss what they have to say, Billy Graham even said of Dr. Martin, “He is one of the most articulate spokesmen for evangelical Christianity that I know” (Online source). By the way, on The John Ankerberg Show years ago Martin informed leaders of the cult of The United Pentecostal Church that his doctorate was in the early Church Fathers of the first five hundred years of the Church, so he knew very well what he was talking about concerning the beginnings of the Christian faith.

Not one necessarily known for his tact often Dr. Martin would be challenged about how bluntly he would state things on occasion. Once when asked, “Do you have to use language like that”; he responded, “If you have any brains you do.” Circa 1987 Dr. Martin made the following dead on target assessment: Anyone who does not know that today the Church—world around—is in full-blown apostasy does not know what is going on. Now, let us consider the current state of the “Protestant” evangelical community e.g. with its deceptive dance of romanticizing Roman Catholic figures of the Counter Reformation (Hello!) such as Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the spiritual Gestapo aka the Jesuits, and messed up mystics like Teresa of Avila and her Interior Castle of completely subjective and non-verifiable experience thereby negating and repudiating Sola Scriptura.

So now, I say that anyone who thinks that the state of Christianity world-wide is in a better position now than it was twenty years ago when Martin made his statement seriously needs to have their spiritual heads examined. Ok, effete egalitarian “evangelicals” today ala man-loving myth reciter Rob Bell will likely say that was awful harsh; and so, I answer with the words of a woman, Catherine Booth, “I would hate to be harder on you than Jesus Himself would be.” For point of reference let me share with you the Master from Matthew’s eyewitness account where Jesus is speaking of the spiritually dead religious leaders of His day:

“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also?” (Matthew 15:14-16, NASB) 

Notice also here that Jesus is chiding His disciples by equating their understanding with those He has just rebuked. The NIV brings out the point Jesus was making as it renders verse 16 — “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. With this background I’m going to go a little *ahem* Emerging Church on you in coming pieces and begin to “unpack” some things I’ve been doing here at Apprising Ministries for a while now which concern Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster. By now it’s become quite obvious that evangelicalism is deep into her lust affair with the repackaged so-called “Christian” mysticism of Foster who is hands down the leading proponent of spiritually corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM). And this neo-Gnosticism with its Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) actually flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism but has now slithered its way deep into evangelicalism from its den in the Emergent Church.

It shows itself most clearly in a spurious Spiritual Formation developed by Foster and which was unknown in Protestant evangelicalism prior to 1978. For example, in Spiritual Formation: Just Say No I brought to your attention where Foster himself writes:

When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term “Spiritual Formation” was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. (Online source)

And the key “writing in the field” Foster initially produced came in 1978 with his magnum opus Celebration of Discipline (CoD) which Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel, correctly assessed is an encyclopedia of theological error…um, but I guess other than that it’s really pretty good. Anyway, even so CoD was still one of the top 10 “Books of the century” according to Christianity Astray Today (CT) magazine:

Christianity Today asked more than 100 of its contributors and church leaders to nominate the ten best religious books of the twentieth century. By best books, we meant those that not only were important when first published, but also have enduring significance for the Christian faith and church. (Online source)   

It’s also interesting to note that Emerging Church icon Phyllis Tickle puts the spiritually corrupt CoD eighth just under David Neff, CT’s editor-in-chief, who places seventh among books having “enduring significance for the Christian faith and church” one by apostate (at best) Roman Catholic mystic monk Thomas Merton. By the way Merton’s own practice of CCP virtually turned him into a Buddhist, which you can see for yourself in Thomas Merton and the Buddhas. And despite this sad reality we are still told by CT that Merton’s book is about a “Christian soul’s walk with grace.” Guru Foster himself also happens to be quite enamored with the mystic monk as well telling us that Merton dispensed, “priceless wisdom for all Christians who long to go deeper in the spiritual life.”  

Likeminded Believers As Proverbial Peas In A Corrupt Spiritual Pod

But the main point at issue here for this introductory article is the fact that Richard Foster is looked to as the one who allegedly brought “spiritual formation” and “spiritual disciplines” back into the forefront of the Protestant community. I give you what Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard, who used to attend a Quaker church where Foster was pastor and is quite literally Foster’s twin spiritually i.e. teaches the SAME things, says about CoD in the 25th Anniversary edition:

[it] has quietly asserted itself in the lives of multitudes around the globe, and has taken its place as a guide to the uplands of the spiritual life for the late twentieth century… If you wish to know in your self the reality of the gracious life of God seen in the Bible, you may find no better counselor than Richard Foster. (209, 210, emphasis mine)

C. Peter Wagner of Fuller Theological Cesspool Seminary and one of the leading false prophets of the man-centered Church Growth Movement then explains:

Richard Foster wrote Celebration of Discipline at the right time, and many have indeed been calling it a classic…the late 1970’s [was] when God was just beginning to move the Church in America and in other parts of the world into a new era of heightened spirituality…. Richard Foster was one of the first to hear what the Spirit was saying to the churches and to let the rest of the world know what he was hearing through Celebration of Discipline. The book was the central hinge on the door to God’s new era. (208, emphasis mine)

Dr. J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy for Biola, tells us in his 2007 book Kingdom Triangle that “spiritual formation should be studied…and insights gained should be implemented.” Then among the four books he would “invest” himself in “absorbing” is “Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline [which] has earned the title of a contemporary classic” (157). Reformed theologian J.I. Packer says in the foreword of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney, “Ever since Richard Foster rang the bell with his Celebration of Discipline (1978), discussing the various disciplines has become a staple element of conservative Christian in-talk in North America. This is a happy thing” (9, emphasis mine).

Charismatic leader John Wimber who founded the Association of Vineyard Churches then moves from “happy” to gushing as he enthusiatically states:

In 1978 Richard Foster’s first book, Celebration of Disciplines, was published with little fanfare…sales were sluggish… Few marketing experts thought…[the] book…would sell…the experts were wrong. The first few readers of Celebration of Discipline began spreading the word; the true door to liberation in Christ is the spiritual disciplines. Foster, reflecting on his Quaker heritage, writes about an inner life of piety and self-restraint that is both attainable and desireable. (210, emphasis mine)

But CSM pastor-teacher-author Eugene Peterson perhaps best puts this all into its proper cultic perspective when he informs us:

Like a child exporing the attic of an old house on a rainy day, discovering a trunk full of treasure and then calling all his brothers and sisters to share the find, Richard Foster has “found” the spiritual disciplines that the modern world stored away and forgot, and has exitedly called us back to celebrate them. For they are, as he shows us, the instruments of joy, the way into mature Christian spirituality and abundant life. (206, emphasis mine)

In prayerful hopes of the Lord managing to actually penetrate a thick spiritual head or two I close this for now using some reductio ad absurdum; a tactic also often employed by Dr. Martin. I’ve already warned you that he wasn’t always tres genteel; “Tact not being my long suit,” as Martin would quip. Now, here’s a synopsis of what these people above want us to believe: “[I]n the late 70s and early 80s the term ‘Spiritual Formation’ was hardly known”; we in the Christian community have “no better counselor than Richard Foster” because CoD “was the central hinge on the door to God’s new era”. We now add to this “the true door to liberation in Christ is the spiritual disciplines”, which are also “the way into mature Christian spirituality and abundant life”. So this means that until Richard Foster “ ‘found’ the spiritual disciplines,” all of this was, in fact, lost to the Body of Christ, which is what “found” would logically imply.

Well, if this is so, then the issue now becomes: Do those of us who are Christians really believe that the one true and living God, Who in Person established His Church here upon His earth, would then have to use a possibly unregenerate—and decidedly non-Protestant—Quaker mystic like Richard Foster, who repudiates Sola Scriptura (at the very least), to rediscover for the Body of Christ these supposed “spiritual disciplines” of neo-pietistic asceticism-lite? Practices, I will add, which were not outlined in His infallible and inerrant Word, the Bible; nor were they retained by the Reformers whom the Lord raised up to return His Church to proper doctrine as outlined in Holy Scripture. In fact, what became known as the Protestant Reformation actually came about as these Reformers were fighting doctrinal battles against seducing spirits in apostates with their doctrines of demons who were practicing the very same mysticism and “disciplines” of religious bondage now being taught by Foster et al.

No; in the end, it as as Gary Gilley has already said concerning Richard Foster, “As a result of his unbiblical routes and disregard for the meaning of Scripture, it should not surprise us that Foster has become a Pied Piper leading multitudes away from biblical Christianity.” Gilley also writes of Foster’s quasi-Christian Quaker mysticism:

Medieval mysticism has managed to survive within small pockets of Roman Catholicism for centuries but has gone largely unnoticed by evangelicals.  It is true that a few groups, such as the Quakers, have always kept some aspect of mysticism within range of evangelical awareness, and elements of mystical practices have actually thrived in charismatic circles right down to the ranks of Fundamentalism.  But classical mysticism was virtually unknown in Evangelical circles until 1978 when Quaker minister Richard J. Foster published Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth

What Foster has done, in essence, is reintroduce to the church the so-called “masters of the interior life” as he likes to call the Medieval mystics.  He declares that they alone have discovered the key to true spiritual life and slowly, over the last few years, convinced multitudes that he is right.  It seems to me that Foster’s recipe for Christian living has been simmering in the pot for over two decades but as of late has caught fire. (Online source)   

And as far as what Richard Foster has reimagined with his fables of mysticism-lite, with the leading of the Lord in the light of Scripture, Gilley also makes that abundantly clear:

What Foster “found” many others are discovering as well.  As a result classical, Medieval Roman Catholic mysticism has been dusted off and offered as the newest and best thing in spirituality.  But there is one little problem.  If this is how God wanted His followers to connect with Him why didn’t He bother to say so in His Word?  If contemplative prayer (We will further describe this in a future paper.) is the key that will unlock this greater dimension of spirituality, as we will see is being claimed, why did God not give us instructions on how to pray in this manner?  Why did He leave it up to monks and nuns hundreds of years later to unveil this key to true godliness?  Of course, the answer is that He did not.  God’s Word is sufficient; all that we need for life and godliness is found there (I Peter 1:4; II Timothy 3:16,17). (Online source)

See also: