Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:5)

New Protholic Spirituality

Leading online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been helping you to survey the battlefield of this spiritual Vietnam of a Truth War.

We can see now that the new liberalism of the Church Growth Movement and its seeker-friendly/sinner-sensitive missional methodology of letting culture define the church has destroyed faith in the all-sufficiency of God’s infallible and inerrant Word in the Bible. I’ve told you that a major arm of this diseased tree (cf. Matthew 7:15-18) is the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church—with its “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity.

Circa 2000 mainstream evangelicalism made an horrendous decision to open the sheep pens of their Young Adult and Youth ministries and literally lead these wolves right in to their most vulnerable sheep. A corrupt core doctrine of the EC rebellion against the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scripture was repackaged Roman Catholic mysticism ala the highly subjective Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) taught by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin and Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard. It also happens to be beyond dispute that this dubious duo acted as key mentors of the Emerging Church.

Establishing this as our vantage point I’ll now continue showing you just how far said spurious CSM—today masquerading as so-called Spiritual Formation—has penetrated into the Southern Baptist Convention itself, which is reputed to be the largest “Protestant” denomination in the United States. We again take for example the SBC flagship Saddleback Church of Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren, whom I showed you in What’s Going On With Dr. John Piper? has now been blessed by Dr. Piper as “theological and doctrinal and sound.”

Perhaps now you’ll consider the evidence I’ve given you e.g. in Rick Warren Saddleback Church, And Spiritual Disciplines or Steve Gladen, Saddleback Church Small Groups, And Quaker Mystic Spirituality or Rick Warren And Purpose Driven Roman Catholics or Saddleback Church, Rick Warren, And Spiritual Disciplines, or Saddleback promoting the false gospel of apostate Emergent icon Rob Bell as you’ll see in Saddleback Church Of Rick Warren Using Rob Bell Teachings.

This article builds upon earlier ones concerning CSM and the rearing of its ugly head in SBC organizations and churches such as Houston, We Have A Problem At Second Baptist Church and Promoting Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism Is Ok In The Southern Baptist Convention and In Touch Magazine Of Charles Stanley Promoting Contemplative New Monasticism and Dr. Ed Young Promoting Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism For His Southern Baptists. You should get the idea this has become a serious problem.

We focus this time upon evidence of CSM being encouraged and promoted elsewhere in the SBC, which I first showed you almost two years ago in Southern Baptist Convention And “Insightful” Emerging Church Heretic Tony Jones; you’re going to find out that it’s still there. Since the point of this piece is to show the lunacy in the Lord’s Name of a state convention of the suppposedly conservative Southern Baptist Convention sending us to an apostate neo-Gnostic like Tony Jones, I’m only going to highlight a couple of other issues along the way.

My point is to help you see just how far off the rails some are becoming in the SBC as they send their sheep to a wolf so he can teach them Counter Reformation spirituality that even involves Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP). If you don’t know CCP, the crown jewel of CSM, is a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness that is a key part of Lectio Divina. No less an authority than the late Roman Catholic monk and supposed “Spiritual Master” M. Basil Pennington, a fellow Trappist with his good friend and Golden Buddha of CSM Thomas Merton (1915-1968), explains in his book Lectio Divina:

For the past twenty-five years we have been sharing Centering Prayer in all parts of the world. In all our prayer workshops we have always included lectio. For the monk and nun, lectio and contemplation, Centering Prayer, are all part of one reality.[1]

I return now to presenting the actual evidence; the below was shot today at the website of the State Board of Missions of the Alabama Baptist Convention (SBC) under recommended Discipleship Resources:

(Online source)

Note that we find a source paper called Spiritual Disciplines: Pathway to Christian Maturity (SDPCM), which apparently originated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, the SBC convention for that state. As you can see following, SDPCM opens with a quote from Richard Foster’s magnum opus of spurious spirituality, which Dr. Gary Gilley correctly called a virtual encyclopedia of theological error.[2]:

(Online source)

This begs the question: What “classical Disciplines of the spiritual life” is this Quaker mystic, and since when were Quakers Protestant evangelicals, talking about? While reviewing Foster’s partner in spiritual crime Dallas Willard’s book of mythology called The Spirit of the Disciplines Christian apologist Bob DeWaay is dead-on-target when he informs us:

The spiritual disciplines that are supposedly necessary for spiritual formation are not defined in the Bible. If they were, there would be a clear description of them and concrete list. But since spiritual disciplines vary, and have been invented by spiritual pioneers in church history, no one can be sure which ones are valid. (Online source)

Resisting the urge to wrestle with the snake, we leave the cult of Foster-Willardism aside; instead, let me ask you: Would you find it odd for Protestant Southern Baptists to be told they need to learn Christian spirituality from a Roman Catholic monk who died in spiritual slavery to an apostate church that anathematized the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ? Well, the Alabama Baptist Convention (ABC) and the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) don’t.

You see, next in SDPCM we’re told:

(Online source)

It’s Time To Examine The Defiled Fruit Of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism

These kinds of things really have to be seen to be believed. Welcome to evangelical spiritual Bizarro World. So, seriously, we’re actually supposed to believe that this Roman Catholic monk “Brother” Lawrence (1614-1691), whose real name was Nicholas Herman, was so “keenly aware of God” that he did “those things that pleased and honored Him.” Then if he was so close to God, why did Lawrence/Herman give his life to the advance of the false gospel preached by the Church of Rome? ABC and GBC do remember the Reformation, don’t they?

Respected online apologetics and discernment ministry Lighthouse Trails Research also brings out that Lawrence/Herman was of the “Carmelite order mean[ing] his spiritual practices were derived from or heavily influenced by”[3] the emotionally troubled mystic RC nun Teresa of Avila. As we return our attention back specifically to SDPCM, ABC and GBC encourage us in the practice of “silence and solitude,” which is mystic-speak for the aforementioned transcendental meditation-lite of CCP.

This is done complete with a misappropriation of Psalm 46:10, which has nothing to do with emptying one’s mind in meditation, and with the postmodern Humpty Dumpty language mystics are so fond of, “It is in solitude and silence that one may more fully discover how best to use his words.” What does a sentence like that even mean; and I can just as easily turn around and say that as one uses their mind more often they will become more fully aware of when someone is simply making things up about God with zero Biblical basis, no.

Perhaps the leadership of ABC and GBC ought to spend some time in silence and solitude and meditate upon the following from Jesus — “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). As I begin to close this out, for now, in SDPCM we in the Protestant SBC are also introduced to the Roman Catholic mystic practice of Lectio Divina by, of all people, the heretical “gay affirming” Tony Jones.

In case you’re not aware, Jones just happens to be the Progessive Christian  i.e. postmodern liberal “theologian in residence” at the church social gathering of his equally heretical quasi-universalist pastor Doug Pagitt; and along with Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, this spiritually perverted pair comprise the unholy trinity of the Emerging Church. Even so, see for yourself that ABC and GBC want us to learn how to really read the Bible from the supposedly “insightful” Tony Jones.

We’re told that:

(Online source)

Where to start; we see a reference to the meaningless phrase “practice God’s presence” that forms the diseased heart of “Brother” Lawrence’s book. No human being can practice attributes of Deity; it’s as absurd as practicing walking on water or resurrection from the dead. God is always present to the Christian, He already dwells within us. As someone who’s been in the ministry field of Comparative Religion, and has studied mysticism for many years, I can tell you this paper pushed by SBC outlets ABC and GBC is really quite naïve.

That understood, it is true that the practice of “lectio divina can be traced back” to a Roman Catholic mystic monk by the name of Benedict “500 years after the birth of Christ and has been a part of monastery life ever since.” This is to admit Lectio Divina was not practiced by Jesus, nor was it part of His Apostles’ teaching, which is why they never spoke of it in the pages of Holy Scripture. If this isn’t reason enough to reject it, the fact it is integral within the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism should do it.

SDPCM also informs us that Lectio Divina “is not peculiar to the [Roman] Catholic Church.” This is true, it isn’t; sadly you’ll also find it practiced in the mortally wounded mainline denominations who long ago embraced ecumenicism and caved in to the Cult of Liberal Theology. These denominations are now in their spiritual death throes after their own rejection of sola Scriptura; but they’re only just a few years ahead of mainstream evangelicalism because it poisoned its own younger sectors by using practices of CSM on them as spiritual guinea pigs.

Dr. Gary Gilley and his son Brian now take us through the four stages of Lectio Divina; by the way, the quotes they use below come from the book The Trinity, a Journal by CSM guru Kenneth Boa. The Gilleys explain that Lectio Divina:

is Latin for “holy reading,” and is increasingly becoming a popular method of contemplative “Bible reading” in mystical and emergent circles… Ken Boa, another promoter of mystical Christianity, explains that lectio divina involves four movements:

Reading (Lectio)

“Since lectio divina engages the whole person, your bodily posture is important. A seated position that is erect but not tense or slouched is best…. Remember that unlike ordinary reading, in lectio you are seeking to be shaped by the Word more than informed by the Word”

Meditation (Meditatio)

“Meditation is a spiritual work of holy desire and an interior invitation for the Spirit to pray and speak within us (Romans 8:26-27)…Meditation will do you little good if you try to control the outcome.” Incorporating the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola is recommended for meditation.

Prayer (Oratio)

Boa informs us that “Oratio [Prayer] is a time for participation in the interpenetrating subjectivity of the Trinity through prolonged mutual presence and growing identification with the life of Christ.”

Contemplation (Contemplatio)

To the uninitiated, contemplation often is confused with meditation but they are not the same. In ordinary circles meditation describes deep thinking and analyzing with a rational mind and some may use contemplation as a synonym for this activity. But contemplation in mystical circles “is a theological grace that cannot be reduced to logical, psychological, or aesthetic categories…It is best for us to stop talking and ‘listen to Him’ in simple and loving attentiveness. In this strange and holy land we must remove the sandals of our ideas, constructs and inclinations, and quietly listen for the voice of God.”(Online source)[7]

The bottom line is this: Neo-Gnostics like Tony Jones have unbuckled themselves from the Word of God and are instead spiritually free-falling down through the subjective experiences of their practice of CSM. The truth is they’ve dived out into the ignis fatuus of creating their own Christianity featuring a mystic mush god with a man-shaped hole in his/her/its heart. Look at the fruit of CSM; Tony Jones self-professes to be aligned with Progressive Christianity[4], which denies cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith and rejects the inerrancy of Scripture.

Quaker mystic Richard Foster is on record telling us that his CSM “circumnavigates inconsistencies found in Scripture.”[5] First of all, this is also a denial of the inerrancy of Scriputure, and 2) he’s just told you that his mystic experiences will be the grid through which he forces Holy Scripture. Foster’s version of Christianity is so adulterated that he is listed right along with unbelieving pagan religious leaders like the Dali LamaDeepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson as a great “spiritual teacher” at the Living Spiritual Teachers Project.

Let’s consider how deluded Dallas Willard, Foster’s fellow fable spinner, has now become from years of his practicing the CSM of Foster-Willardism. He is so truly in love with the self (cf. 2 Timothy 3:2) he’s even tried to get us to believe that anyone “worthy of being saved, they will be saved.” Willard also muses, “It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”[6] This certainly isn’t even in line with the SBC’s vaunted Baptist Faith & Message, let alone with what God Himself has revealed in the pages of His inspired Holy Scripture.

So remind me again, why is it that the Alabama Baptist Convention and the Georgia Baptist Convention of the Southern Baptist Convention would want us to learn the warped and toxic spiritual practices taught by these dreamers? Its also the fruit of CSM that has the Emerging Church, which Foster and Willard helped mentor spiritually, on a Wild Goose Chase with another Jesus than the one we’ve always proclaimed, and to receive a different spirit from the one we received, and to accept a different gospel from the one we’ve always accepted (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4).

From where we stand right now I would hope you will be able to see there’s nothing insightful about that…

End Notes:

[1]  M.Basil Pennington, Lectio Divina: Renewing the Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures [New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1998] , ix. emphasis mine.

[2] Cited in “Celebration Of Discipline” By Richard Foster An Encyclopedia Of Theological Error.

[3], accessed 7/16/11.

[4], accessed 7/16/11.

[5], accessed 7/16/11.

[6] Cited in Is Dallas Willard A Christian?

[7] The original credited Gary E. Gilley, Brian E. Gilley, “The New Mystic Youth: No Longer Just Pulp Fiction ,” The Quarterly Journal, Personal Freedom Outreach, Vol. 27, No.4, October-Decemember 2007 , 4, 8-11.

See also: