Wednesday, April 19, 2006

SPIRITUL DISCIPLINES

We will be placing several posts on the subjects of Spiritual Disciplines and Contemplative Prayer. Since these trends are making a great deal of head-way into the church today it is important to be aware of the history and background of these practices and weigh them against scripture in order to test all things:

1 John 4:1-
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 Thess. 5:21-22-
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Col. 2:8-
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

John 17:17-
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

How does God speak to us? Is it through silence and solitude and an emptying of the mind in order to "fill" it with "Divine love" or is it through His Word? I believe it is the latter. These current trends encourage people to reach God through being still and silent using methods and techniques adapted from the ancient Catholic monks, mystics and desert fathers/mothers to prepare a person to become more receptive to God's promptings. The mind is secondary if it even has a place at all, and the senses and intuitions are the primary factors directing the process of hearing from God.

Our goal is to point out how this is unbiblical and dangerous.

-KTO

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about 2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him..."?

I think its saying we dont need any new way of doing anything that has not already been revealed to us and been already given to us, based on knowledge of him (scripture)

9:24 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Good verse, thanks. We will be getting into this in more detail since it seems to be increasing in popularity all throughout the church. Keep checking in and thanks for your comments

9:44 AM  
Blogger Joe James said...

Are you saying that solitude is bad? Are you saying that contemplative prayer is bad? Really? Surely I am confused... Did Jesus practice solitude? How about 1 of the many examples (Matt. 14:22-23)

Please feel free to respond, because frankly I am confused by this post on prayer and solitude being a bad thing?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Joe James said...

I would also like to add that you have grossly taken I John 4:1 out of context if you use it to refer to Richard Foster and Dallas Willard and the like as "False Prophets"

Rather... John makes it quite clear what his definition of "Fales Prophets" is in verses 2 and 3. Therefore the testing John encourages is to see if the prophets (or in this case authors) are teaching that came in the flesh and that He came from God. You'll have to find another passage to label them with (but only if that is your intentions...)

Also, while you use I Thess. 5:21-22 to fight Foster and Willard, do you treat their prophecies or teachings with contempt? That would be a direct violation of I Thess. 5:20 (the verse immediately preceeding)

And am I mistaken, or is the "hollow and deceptive philosphy" that Paul refers to in Col. 2:8 not gnosticism? or at least a pre-gnostic belief system?
Can you be sure that you haven;t taken this out of context as well. For Scripture can never mean something now that it didn;t mean then!

And please... John 17:17? Are you serious? That is hardly a fair usage of the passage!

I am not saying that you are wrong! I am saying you cannot proof text these things. They must be discussed...

Grace...

12:15 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Joe James,

Funny you should point out the reference to Gnosticism in Colossians. Gnosticism is exactly where this mysticism and contemplative prayer is headed toward. I am in the process of addressing these connections now and will post articles on it soon.

As far as Willard and Foster are concerned, I have a hard time equating the teachings of Willard and Foster to that of the apostles' prophecies of the New Testament, I think it is safe to assume that Paul, Timothy, and Silas in Thessalonians would agree on that one.

Also if anyone is teaching or even hinting at things unbiblical or different than the pure gospel or doctrine which varies from biblical truth it is false teaching, these would be categorized as false teachers.

Gal. 1:8-9--
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

This true doctrine comes from a theology derived from the bible in its entirety. If one starts to stray a little here or there, like claiming that one can achieve union with God through silence–devoid of scriptures–emptying the mind like, then you can make an argument for this being an unbiblical method which is what I will be attempting to do.

Info regarding the errors in Foster's teachings will also be covered in future posts.

Joe James keep checking in and thank you for your comments.

By the way, I think it is safe to stick with the prayer of Jesus for his followers to be sanctified by his truth which is his word. Do we really need to be toying with other things or is his word sufficient to bring us toward sanctification?

5:18 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Possible verse to add to this would be "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." I also would question throwing the baby out with the bath water in that the Word says Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! I would however agree that no Truth will contradict the Word of God but there are times when one might do well to allow God to speak through the silence.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Thanks for your comments Hank. It was great seeing you at the prayer meeting tonight.

I think a lot of people mistakenly misunderstand that passage in Psalms 46:10 where it says be still. This verse appears in the chapter where the people were in the midst of warfare. When verse 10 is uttered it addresses the sovereignty of God over the state of war rather than a contemplative meditative state of being as so many of the contemplative prayer proponents claim:

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

-This will be addressed in more detail in future posts along with the whole silence and solitude topics specifically as expressed through those such as Richard Foster and others involved in contemplative prayer.



-Kenny

11:05 PM  
Blogger carla said...

Finally, someone who understands what the infamous 'be still' passage really means! I've heard it misquoted out of context so much lately I am sickened. Thankyou!

4:35 AM  
Blogger KCO said...

Not only that, God is saying for us to be still, make Him our fortress and get out of the way and allow HIM to do the work.

The work of exalting himself by Him alone ceasing the battles, NOT us, not man.

Also, to be still with the knowledge (not an empty state of nothingness) of how great he is. It's a stillness based on our knowedge of him.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Joe James,
As a continuation in response to your questions about my comments about contemplative prayer and the verses I chose to address these I would like to add some comments from Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. Here Ken helps clarify how Gnosticism and these trends are leading in that very direction:

1 John 4:1-
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Joe's comments:
Rather... John makes it quite clear what his definition of "False Prophets" is in verses 2 and 3. Therefore the testing John encourages is to see if the prophets (or in this case authors) are teaching that came in the flesh and that He came from God. You'll have to find another passage to label them with (but only if that is your intentions...)

Ken Silva's response:
It is a fact, and an exhortation to "test" whatever we are taught (agreeing with Acts 17:11) "because many false prophets" are going to be around. The "test" in verses 2 and 3 is an example of one of the types of teachings which is false. Interestingly enough it is Gnosticism that John is dealing with here.

Essentially there were two major strains of Gnostics and both views contradicted those two verse. One group that followed Cerinthus held that Jesus was a real Man, but the Christ came upon Him at baptism and then left Him prior to His suffering on the Cross. This is not unlike what the Jehovah's Witnesses believe today.

The Docetic (from the Greek word "to seem") Gnostics believed that the Christ appeared to be a Man (seemed real) but Jesus was not actually there in the flesh. So now that you know that you can see that verses 2 and 3 - as well as Colossians 2:9 - destroy both arguments.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
1 Thess. 5:21-22-
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Joe's comments:
Also, while you use I Thess. 5:21-22 to fight Foster and Willard, do you treat their prophecies or teachings with contempt? That would be a direct violation of I Thess. 5:20 (the verse immediately preceeding)

Ken Silva's response:
Our position is that Foster and Willard are out of line theologically. Certainly we reject with derision and contempt their unbiblical Gnostic "revelations." So are we supposed to believe that God that Paul didn't write with "contempt" against false teacihng? Or how about the Lord Himself in Matthew 23?
––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Col. 2:8-
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Joe's comments:
And am I mistaken, or is the "hollow and deceptive philosphy" that Paul refers to in Col. 2:8 not gnosticism? or at least a pre-gnostic belief system?
Can you be sure that you haven;t taken this out of context as well. For Scripture can never mean something now that it didn;t mean then!

Ken Silva's response:
"The point we are making here is exactly what that Scripture means: Don't let human "wisdom" (secret Gnostic teachings) deceive you. By the way the word gnosis menas "knowledge." You'll see in my article "The Emergent 'ONE' " that we are dealing with Gnosticism with Foster et al, and I am FAR from done with them. The whole "Spiritual Formation" stuff they teach is based on exactly the type of Gnosticism you'll see in my article!"
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

John 17:17-
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Joe's comments:
And please... John 17:17? Are you serious? That is hardly a fair usage of the passage!

Ken Silva's response:
"The secondary principle in that verse is that once a believer has been sanctified ("set apart" to Christ) we are then bound as His bond-slaves to the Truth of His Word because God's Word is truth. As such we don't need new revelations from these people and their transcendental meditation. I personally know I have experience with God but I am also bound to what His Word actually says. God cannot contradict Himself. These mystics do so constantly!

And yes, the Books of 1 John and Colossians (in particular) were responces to Gnosticism. We also need to remember that God the Holy Spirit would have known the Church would face these same heresies all over again in our day."

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Hey just stopping by to say I look forward to the upcoming dissections of these new 'things' going on in the church today.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Joe James said...

Ken,

Thanks for ellaborating and responding. I'm still not fully understanding and I ask your patience. I don't think that we can say that "even a hint" is worthy of false teaching... do you really mean that? You used Gal. to refute me and even there the context is that Galtian Christians are trying to now make themselves righteous by observing a law. The freedom of God's grace was not enough for them. Instead they needed to revert back to a law so that they could easily identify who was "in" and who was "out". I tend to think that the argument you make is oversimplified and without much discussion and consideration. Maybe you would look at the context of all "false teachers" and what was being referred to when they are mentioned in the New Testament? I myself have inadvertantly said some things that were overstated or misworded from the pupit. This is a hint... am I a false teacher? Are you so perfect that you;ve never been wrong about something theologically? Do you have the infinite God figured out?

Grace,

Joe James

3:55 PM  
Blogger Joe James said...

Again... thanks for the detailed response! I appreciate that greatly!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Joe James said...

Kennyo,

Can you give as much detail as you did earlier to these questions? What all makes Foster and Willard Gnostic? And, what makes you gnostic? Can you be gnostic on accident and think your lined up squarely with scripture? I wonder if Foster and Willard would agree to their gnostic system you claim they adhere to?

Grace,

Joe James

4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home