Wednesday, May 03, 2006

REAL PRAYER vs. CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Christine A. Narloch of EARNESTLY CONTEND.COM. She had been reading some of the posts on thinkerup and made me aware of a body of research she had compiled where she has compared contemplative prayer methods to how prayer is actually taught in the bible. Her research is biblically solid and clearly demonstrates how the subject of prayer should be handled as taught in the bible as opposed to the unbiblical methods of prayer being practiced by those promoting contemplative prayer.

Here is an excerpt...

"Contemplative Prayer is not Biblical prayer at all, rather it is a type of mystical meditation leading the mind into an altered state of consciousness. It goes beyond thought, providing an experiential union with so-called God or with nature producing body sensations, feelings, images, and reflections.

It is based on “experiences” rather than sound doctrine. “… give attendance… to doctrine.” 1 Timothy 4:13. Faith is to be based on God’s word rather than experiences. “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17, “For we walk by faith, not by sight:” 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Contemplative Prayer is also known as centering prayer, listening prayer, breath prayer, and prayer of the heart. It is just one of many mystical practices taught within a confusing, mixed-up movement called Contemplative Spirituality."

...READ THE ARTICLE.

-KTO

3 Comments:

Blogger Brett B. said...

First off, welcome to our church! I look forward to getting to know you and your family. I've been perusing your blog and am impressed. You've given me a lot to think about and I suspect in the end I'll have some repenting to do.

I do have a question though. I just finished the article on real vs contemplative prayer. I know you didn't write it, but I wanted your opinion on something. Toward the end of the article it seems there is a lot of guilt by association. Where do we draw the line? Do I really need to burn my copy of Packer's Knowing God because he said some nice things about Peterson's The Message? Or do I need to purge my library of any author who's written a book blurb for something heretical? Blurbs are often written by people who never even read the book and sometimes not even by them, but their staff! Foolish and irresponsible, yes, but does it really qualify them as false teachers?

Again, I'm not saying you've done this, but the temptation is there and it's easy enough to do. I'm just curious about your thoughts on the "guilt-by-association" the author uses at the end of her article.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Brett,

I know you're being somewhat sarcastic, which I am OK with.

Honestly, I think as christians we need to be aware of all of this stuff since it seems to be so prevalent and the devil is very clever at using half truths to advance his lies.

I thought this article was very good and informative. You can react to any way you see fit.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Brett B. said...

I'm sorry that my sarcasm got in the way of a legitimate question. That was not my intention at all. I actually liked the article because it talked about biblical prayer and not just what was wrong with these counterfeit prayer approaches she outlined. I probably reacted more strongly because some of the authors (like Packer) she was lumping in with the worst offenders have been used by God in my life. I try to stay away from what is obviously herectical and read everything else on my knees with my bible in the other hand. We need to read and listen to everything that comes out of the mouth or mind of men with discernment and hold it up to the light of the Word. I'm just concerned that when we're pointing out error we use a shotgun instead of a laser beam and wind up wounding fellow believers (either the authors themselves or people who read these articles). Not that a shotgun isn't sometimes warrented...

If we're going to use the term "false prophet" and I think we should, is it fair to apply that to people who say "Amen" without having any of their own words about the subject? And if we call people false prophets who aren't, isn't that stealing God's glory by attributing His work to the Devil?

You are doing an important and noble thing with your blog... but it's also a dangerous thing. We need to be humble and gracious with people who's position is not entirely clear and bold in taking a stand against those who position is clearly anti-thetical to the Gospel.

In short I think this was a good article, but I think the end may have been unfair to some people. It's certainly worth challenging those men on the "endorsements" and maybe that's all she's done, but it did raise the original question in my mind about guilt by association.

Got a run... looking forward to continuing the conversation.

3:25 PM  

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