Apprising Ministries presents the below composite email—representing common questions/comments AM receives—for the edification of our readers concerning the corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism being advanced under cover of spurious Spiritual Formation by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin Dallas Willard:

Hi Ken,

I would like to request your help. My friend and brother in Christ and I are very concerned as to the direction our church is taking toward Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM). I’m sure you’ve heard many a story before. In fact, we have been concerned for some time as every once in a while this issue has reared its head: a Spiritual Formation conference using Richard Foster’s materials and practicing Lectio Divina, a sermon series quoting the works of Open Theist Gregory Boyd—and how a marriage weekend featuring the works of Pete Scazzero through his Emotionally Healthy Spirituality ( Just click on the link “Contemplative Spirituality” and click on “Books” and you’ll see a who’s who of those involved in Contemplative Spirituality including the kingpin himself, Thomas Merton.

I would like to give our church the benefit of the doubt that this is a calculated move and would like to think that they are simply bandwagon jumpers along with other similar evangelical churches. Having researched this area over the past couple of years, including your website and Lighthouse Trails (and others), we see the dangers that this direction leads to and want to warn the leadership. The question is—what is the best way to approach this? Do you have any recommendations? Of course we want to do this with gentleness and respect, but fear that our concerns will be dismissed. We would greatly welcome any suggestions that you might have.

In Christ,

AM Readers

Hello AM Readers,

Thank you very much for contacting Apprising Ministries. You mentioned needing assistance in dealing with Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) and its cast of the usual suspects who teach it. Yes, what you describe is sadly becoming part of the normal regression of local churches within evangelicalism in Canada and the US.

As far as how to handle the situation; let me first commend you for being willing to get involved, unfortunately, most do not say anything. First remember you are dealing with a spiritual deception and just as when we would deal with Satan’s forces in the kingdom of the cults we must do so with much prayer for guidance.

I’m afraid this is a sign of the time we live in, where as in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, God is giving people over to their pet deceptions. CSM is what more “conservative” Christians are turning to because there is truth to there being a dead orthodoxy where people are content to think that because they mentally acknowledge the correct things they are all set.

That is just as wrong as the CSM-mers seeking to experience God outside the means of grace He prescribed in Scripture. The answer isn’t to abandon and/or alter proper doctrine to return to the corrupt spirituality of the Counter Reformation of apostate Rome. However, this is what’s happening in the situation you see at your local church.

Now the best way to attack this is by following the simple Biblical pattern we see Christians follow in Scripture, which I express to my own church as: Read the Bible; pray, and then do what it says. Ok, the CSM-mers will counter that they are doing the same thing, and to an extent they are. So what’s happened is the Devil has convinced evangelicals to come up with more traditions, which are in reality but rules taught by men.

Makes sense; it’s a repeat of e.g. Mark 7:6-9 where the “church” of that day had invented they way they thought God was to be, and they even did so using the Scriptures. This is evangelicalism today; for so many years they’ve listened to others tell them what they think the Bible says, not discerning for themselves, that they now think it’s ok to borrow practices God already condemned. In their arrogance they now feel they know better how to use CSM than the apostate monks who developed it from pagan sources.

So those of us, who through the grace of God (see—1 Corinthians 15:10), have been prevented from these compromises will need to use the Sword of the Spirit—the Bible—to tear down the CSM strongholds they have embraced. For example, this is the reason I would write:


In that piece I clearly show that Psalm 46:10, one of the texts at the very heart of CSM, is misapplied and doesn’t at all mean what these mystics say it means. But beyond confronting them, as lovingly and politely as we can, we have to leave the results in God’s hands. Just remember that, much like with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ll be in a verse by verse interpretational battle—only with men who very likely are brothers; but who are deceived. Yet we must come to believe what 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 tells us in that it is possible to know what God means in Scripture.

Please know if the Lord allows me to remain here at AM I’ll be glad to assist you further as the matters progress for you. Which is why we sure do covet your prayers for God to broaden the funding base for me because this critical work here at AM is done on a fulltime basis. Even though God has also entrusted me with CRN this is still largely a step of faith because finances are not very steady lately. However, God has provided when we need it.

Also if you’d like to be placed on the email list we’ve begun putting together please let us know. The goal is to keep people informed as soon I hope to follow the Lord’s lead to begin moving out into speaking and spreading the word about the dangers related to the postevangelical Emergence rebellion against Sola Scriptura.

Some of the other subjects I’ll cover would be issues related to this CSM and the evangelical reversal of the Reformation with their embracing of the apostate Roman Catholic Church as a legitimate Christian denomination.

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you close as that Day seems to be fast approaching.

Blessings in Christ,

Ken Silva, pastor-teacher

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