Thursday, January 27, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Contemplative spirituality (CS) is the latest fad sweeping through the evangelical church in America. It is actually a new term for a rather old heresy known as Mysticism. It seems to be very popular with those who have been subjected to church growth teaching and philosophy popularized by ministries such as Willow Creek, Saddleback Community, and Mars Hill which convinced many that numbers and large crowds rather than doctrinal faithfulness was the measure of true success. The effect was that vital Christian doctrines, essential to christian growth and development, were sidelined in favor of more appealing, self-help, therapuetic, man centered “talks” aimed at appeasing “goats”. The “sheep” that remained were left sick and starving. It is understandable then that many of these bewildered and confused sheep are attracted to a new teaching that promises them deeper fellowship with God and help in finding their “true self”.
CS is a blend of postmodern thought (there is no absolute truth, it is all subjective), monastic mysticism, eastern thought, new age theology, and modern psychology. CS relies upon techniques such as “centering prayer” which encourages the worshiper to clear their mind of all rational thought in order to focus more fully on the “presence of God” which they refer to as “practicing the presence of God”. Relaxation techniques, repetition of self selected “sacred words”, symbols both real and mental, as well as scents are some of the things employed in “practicing the presence of God” and finding the “true self”.
While much could be said, and needs to be re-said, I will mention one of the troubling, un-biblical aspects of CS. It is apparent that the focus of CS is human centered and inward focused. The worshiper is instructed to look inward, to seek and find the “true self”, to hear God speak to “them”. The Bible however instructs us to do the opposite. The Bible tells us to look away from ourselves, and to look by faith to Christ. CS tries to apprehend God through physical means such as iconic symbols, scents, special silent and solitary spaces, and warm emotive feelings. But this is not the way God will be sought or found. God has designed that he will only be discovered by faith alone (Heb 11:6), through Christ alone who now appears in the presence of God for us (Heb 9:24).
Man’s problem with faith though is that is difficult, unnatural and unappealing to our flesh. It is unappealing because we don’t want to look away from ourselves, it is unnatural because we prefer sight to faith, and it is difficult, even impossible, for faith is not a faculty we naturally possess, it is a gift (Eph 2:9). It is so much easier and appealing to try to seek after God through sight and feeling - that is the natural human way. God however demands the we come by way of faith (alone) through his son Jesus (alone).
CS is dangerous, deceptive, and deadly. While it promises to lead a person to a closer and deeper fellowship with God, it actually leads away, slowly and subtly, from a true and saving knowledge of the living God.
Here is link that will get you started on learning more:
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Early this morning Wendy was awakened by sever abdominal pressure. All signs pointed to labor, however her stomach remained flaccid during the contractions which confused us as to what was occurring. We called our doctor and she suggested we go and get checked out. Upon arriving at Wyoming Valley Geisinger they determined that her "water" had broke and that she was indeed in labor. They made the decision to transfer her to Geisinger in Danville via Life Flight (thanks Nate for the safe and smooth flight!) just in case the baby decided to come sooner than later. She arrived here around 11 am. The plan is to stop the contractions. They have administered several medications through and I.V to stop any further developments.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I came across a quote in the McCullough biography of President John Adams that puts in stark perspective the literary treasure we call the Psalms. Adams is nearly 90 years old at this point, he is at home in Quicy Mass., enjoying the his library and correspondences with such friends as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Rush. He has spent a lifetime reading Shakespeare (once every year in retirement!), Cervantes, Cicero, and most all of the other essential classics. Now near the end of his incredible life he reflects and writes that: "The Psalms of David, in sublimity, beauty, pathos, and originality, or in one word poetry, are superior to all the odes, hymns, and songs in any language." Whether or not he was actually born again will only be known later, but what he did clearly understand was the true unparalleled worth of this part of our Bibles.
A favorite resource of mine that has greatly helped me in understanding and appreciating the Psalms more is the devotional commentary set by James M Boice. His exposition is simply wonderful. If you don't have them, get one and try it, you will not disappointed!