Archive for May, 2010

Will the new science “prove” that God is in everything?

In a 2009 article in the San Antonio Express-News, it features Thomas Keating, a Catholic monk who has been instrumental in bringing contemplative spirituality out of the monasteries to the layperson. In the article, Keating conveyed what contemplative mystics have been saying for centuries: mysticism is the common ground among all the world’s religions….

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“When Christian groups form alliances with other religions, it throws up significant spiritual flags. Theologically, one of the primary landmines encountered is the issue of Jesus Christ and His exclusive message of sin and salvation. If all faith expressions have validity, as the interfaith movement ultimately proclaims, then the work of Jesus Christ is suspect. Either Jesus’ teachings were true and His actions factual – including His self-proclamation as the Son of God and His resurrection from the dead – or He was an incredibly proficient conman, or a lunatic who somehow managed to ensnare two thousand years of civilization with a delusion.15 But for someone to say, in 2008, that Jesus was simply a moral person or a great teacher is nonsense. Either we accept His declarations as legitimate and embrace the politically incorrect truth this presents, an exclusive Way that transcends cultures and time, or we concede that the “wisdom” of a madman formed our long-held principles of justice and mercy.”

A Response to a Pastor of political correctness
Peace at the expense of truth.

By Carl Teichrib, Forcing Change Editor


The Selling of “Islam-Lite”
by Jamie Glazov
Front Page Magazine

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The “Shrine” in Mind

by Pastor Larry for Contemplative Spirituality

Benjamin B. Warfield on Contemplative Mysticism

Of all the conceivable forms of enlightenment, the worst is what these people call the Inner Light. Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the God within. Anyone who knows anybody knows how it would work; anyone who knows anyone from the Higher Thought Center knows how it does work. That Jones should worship the God within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones.[1]

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are . . . mighty in God for . . . bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .” Paul, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NKJV

As evidenced by the glut of books being published by formerly evangelical publishers, the evangelical movement–that once-upon-a-time was wedded to the doctrine of sola scriptura, that Scripture alone is sufficient in matters of faith and the practice of that faith (2 Timothy 3:16)–is increasingly promoting and embracing mystical spirituality. Because parachurch ministries, seminaries, and local church pastors and spiritual directors encourage it, contemplative spirituality, with its practices and disciplines, is being uncritically and naively engaged in by increasing numbers of evangelicals….

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So just who was Henri Nouwen…and why are evangelicals listening to him? From the website Henri Nouwen.org, the official website of the Henry Nouwen Society we are told: “Henri Nouwen spent his life helping people respond to the universal ‘yearning for love, unity, and communion that doesn’t go away’.” In Ray Yungen’s excellent book A Time for Departing, and if you haven’t read the Second Edition you really should because the book has nearly doubled in size with important new information added, Yungen further informs us that:

An individual who has gained popularity and respect in Christian circles, akin to that of Thomas Merton, is the now deceased [Roman] Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen… Many pastors and professors are greatly attracted to his deep thinking. In fact, one of his biographers revealed that in a 1994 survey of 3,400 U.S. Protestant church leaders, Nouwen ranked second only to Billy Graham… (61)

Unfortunately, this widely read and often-quoted author, at the end of his life, stated in clear terms that he approached God from a universalistic view. He proclaimed: “Today I personally believe that Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her way to God.” (Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, 51)

Nouwen’s endorsement of a book by Hindu spiritual teacher Elnath Easwaran, teaching mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated, “This book has helped me a great deal.” (62)



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A Still Small Voice?

by Pastor Larry for Contemplative Spirituality

Contemplative prayer and “the Elijah experience” of 1 Kings 19:12.

“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12, KJV

Elijah’s Mt. Horeb experience, when he heard “a sound of sheer silence” (1 Kings 19:12, NRSV), stimulated in the church a tradition of desert spirituality which pursues solitude in order to experience the divine presence and hear God speak.[1] Practitioners of lectio divina (i.e., reading sacred things) also desire such encounters. They say:

When we read the Scriptures we should try to imitate the prophet Elijah. We should allow ourselves to become women and men who are able to listen for the still, small voice of God (I Kings 19:12); the “faint murmuring sound” which is God’s word for us, God’s voice touching our hearts. This gentle listening is an “atunement” to the presence of God . . .[2]

About Elijah’s experience of hearing God’s “still small voice” (KJV, NKJV), questions arise. Does 1 Kings 19:12 endorse contemplative spirituality? Was the prophet’s encounter with God in the cave on Mt. Horeb/Sinai a mystical “atunement”?

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In Peter Scazzero’s recent Silence sermon series on his blog (www.emotionallyhealthy.org/blog), he writes:

I am convinced, more than ever, that silence remains one of the most powerful ways God transforms us. As Kathleen Norris once said, “The ordinary, daily practice of silence is a prophetic stance in our world of noise. It is one of the greatest gifts we can offer the world.”


Kathleen Norris is the author of The Cloister Walk.

It’s not surprising that Scazzero would quote from Kathleen Norris, who came from a Protestant background but was drawn to the ancient practices of monasticism and a rigid schedule of prayer, work, and scripture which she said left her feeling transformed. Scazzero also immerses himself in the rituals, liturgy and scheduled prayers of monastic life. It’s one thing for someone to quietly choose silence and the contemplative pathway, but quite another to lead others over that same bridge. In his second sermon on silence (Practicing Silence), Scazzero handed out a sheet to his congregation to provide guidelines for them to practice silence as a spiritual discipline…

Practical Guidelines:

Most teachers of Centering Prayer suggest daily times of silence before the Lord for 20 minutes. I find that beginning the practice with 2-10 minutes once a day is often a great start. Give yourself lots of grace as you enter into this very new spiritual practice.

* Find a place where you can sit still and uninterrupted.

* Sit straight.

* Breathe slowly, deeply, and naturally. Offer yourself to God; let go of your cares and worries.

* Close your eyes or lower them to the ground.

* Allow yourself to sink into God’s loving presence.

* When you find yourself distracted, gently return to the Lord.


These relaxation steps are identical to the meditation techniques practiced in Eastern and New Age meditation (and now within contemplative Christianity) to still the mind and bring oneself into an altered state of consciousness.

See here:

The Altered State of Silence – Promoted by Both New Agers and Christian Leaders

In spite of this connection to unbiblical practices, Pastor Scazzero tells his church that the key is silence, the greatest gift we can offer to the church, and that he’s not even sure we can be free without silence[1].

Peter Scazzero and Kathleen Norris may believe that silence is one of the greatest gifts they can offer the world, along with their meditation exercises and rigid daily monastic disciplines, but the Bible says that the greatest gift we can offer the world is to tell them the good news, not that we are only free with silence, but that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, to set us free from bondage and the power of sin, and that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting eternal life!


[1] Peter Scazzero says this while explaining how to do the Daily Offices starting with stillness, centering and silence here:
Summary & Applications: A Daily Office Experience on the book of Isaiah
@ 36 minutes HERE: http://vimeo.com/8662502






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Tolerance of paganism now a symbol of civilised society

A sign that paganism has come of age is that there are now lapsed pagans — heretics who resort to scientific explanations for phenomena formerly attributed to the supernatural.

For centuries, Christianity, Judaism and Islam were regarded as the marks of civilisation in Western Europe as they supplanted the beliefs of ancient civilisations. But these beliefs never disappeared. Even in the City of London, with nearly 50 churches in one square mile, the ancient guardians — the giants Gog and Magog — housed at Guildhall, are carried in procession in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show as they have been since the reign of Henry V.

Today the wheel has turned full circle. Practitioners of witchcraft are no longer burnt at the stake — and it is a mark of civilised society that those who follow these beliefs are accorded the same rights as those who follow mainstream faiths.

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For a Christian view on this subject, see Spotlight Ministries.

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