SEDUCING SPIRITS AND A DOCTRINE OF DEVILS
Christine A. Narloch
"Christine Narloch's article Contemplative Prayer: Seducing
Spirits and a Doctrine of Devils is brilliant, condensed,
current, and connects all of the dots for doubters as to the truth
behind contemplative prayer, its roots, false teachers promoting it
such as Rick Warren and Richard Foster, Larry Crabb, Henry Blackaby,
Bill Hybels, and Chuck Swindoll, Brennan Manning, and Ken Blanchard,
and the unholy alliances connected with it. I have been meaning to
commend and recommend Christine's research and labor in our Lord for
years, but could wait no longer because this subject is so urgent to
address." James Sundquist, Director, Rock Salt Publishing
- BIBLICAL PRAYER
- CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
- FALSE TEACHINGS
- UNFRUITFUL RESULTS
- AVOID FALSE TEACHINGS
Our pastor, David L. Brown, approached my husband Mike and I
asking if I could take the time to carefully research and publish a
report on Contemplative Prayer. This is the report he requested. Its
purpose is to compare the Bibleís model for prayer to Contemplative
Prayer thus exposing the grievous errors of Contemplative Prayer. It
is a condensed overview providing a springboard for further
According to Websterís 1828 Dictionary, "contemplate" is
defined as "to view or consider with continued attention; to study;
to meditate on." 1
"Prayer" is defined as "in worship, a solemn address to the
Supreme Being, consisting of adoration, or an expression of our
sense of God's glorious perfections, confession of our sins,
supplication for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings
on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God
for his mercies and benefits." 2
Yet there is a type of prayer being taught today which is far
from the above definitions and even further from Biblical prayer.
Itís known as Contemplative Prayer. Since the Bible is to be our
guideline for faith and practice and since we are to use it to
discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:14, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Acts
17:11), letís compare the teachings of Biblical prayer to
those of Contemplative Prayer.
According to the Bible, prayer is talking to God the
Father (Philippians 4:6), through the Lord Jesus Christ (John
16:23), by people who are born again (John 3:7), according to
the Scriptures (Micah 7:7, Psalm 4:3, 1 John 5:14,15).
The Bible is clear, the prayers of unbelievers are not heard by
God. "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be
a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."
John 9:31 "The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth
the prayer of the righteous." Proverbs 15:29 (Psalm 34:16,
Proverbs 15:8a). Nor are prayers of disobedient born again believers
heard. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear
[me]:" Psalm 66:18 (Proverbs 28:9, James 4:3, 5:16c).
God hears the prayers of repentant sinners turning to Christ as
Savior (Mark 1:15), and obedient believers. "And whatsoever we
ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do
those things that are pleasing in his sight." 1 John 3:22 (1
John 5:14, John 15:7, Psalms 34:15, Proverbs 15:8b).
There are many examples of Old Testament believers who prayed.
Just a few include: Abraham, Moses, Daniel, David as well as Elijah,
Ezekial, Ezra, Nehemiah and Habakkuk. Abraham prayed for a son, he
prayed for Ishmael, for Sodom, and for Abimelech, (Genesis 15-24).
Daniel prayed for the Jews, (Daniel 9:3-19) and for knowledge
(Daniel 2:17-23). David prayed for the Jews, for knowledge, for
blessing, for help, for guidance, for grace, and for justice.
Examples in the New Testament of those who prayed include Jesus
praying to God the Father at Lazarusís tomb (John 11:41-42). Jesus
prayed submitting to the Fatherís will (Matthew 26:39-44), and he
asked God to forgive those who crucified him (Luke 23:34).
The Lord Jesus Christ prayed for believers of that day (John
17:9), and future believers (John 17:20). He
requested they be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17).
He instructed his disciples to pray to God the Father (Luke
11:2), specifically for the Kingdom to come, for Godís will to be
done, for daily food provision, for their sins to be forgiven, they
would forgive others, they not be lead into temptation, and to be
delivered from doing evil. His instructions to believers include to
pray with humility (Luke 18:13), to pray alone (Matthew 6:6), for
those who despitefully use them (Luke 6:28), that God would send
people to preach the gospel (Luke 10:2), and as you pray, forgive
others (Mark 11:2). Jesus promised that the Father rewards those
openly who seek Him in prayer privately (Matthew 6:6).
When the Apostle Paul prayed, he prayed with understanding (1
Corinthians 14:15), and with joy (Philippians 1:4). He prayed for
believers not to do evil but good (2 Corinthians 13:7), to be filled
with knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (Colossians 1:9) to abound
in love, understanding and all judgment (Philemon 1:9), to be
without wrath and doubt in Godís Word (1 Timothy 2:8), to pray
without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to pray when afflicted
(James 5:13), to pray for one another, (James 5:16) and to pray
against evil, (Ephesians 6:12,18). Paul requested prayer for himself
and those with him to preach the word boldly (Ephesians 6:18-19),
that the word they share would do itís work, (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
and that they would have a good conscience (Hebrews 13:18).
In Proverbs 2:1-11, God promises to answer prayers of believers
who ask to understand His word and desire to obey it. He provides
knowledge, wisdom and understanding through the words of His mouth
which are written in the Bible. It states:
1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my
commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply
thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up
thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her
as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and
find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh
knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a
buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the
way of his saints.
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and
judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge
is pleasant unto thy soul;
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall
An entire book of examples concerning prayer in the Bible could
and perhaps should be written. This was just a sample.
Additionally, for believers who arenít able to pray, the Holy
Spirit intercedes according to Godís will (Romans 8:26) and Jesus
who is now at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for believers
The Bible also contains several warnings concerning prayer. "Use
not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]" (Matthew 6:7), do not
pray self-righteously (Luke 18:11), avoid hypocritical prayer,
praying to be seen of men (Matthew 6:5) or praying to show off in
front of others (Luke 20:46, 47).
With these examples and instructions in mind, letís now examine
In the 1970ís, three mystic Roman Catholic monks, Fr. William
Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating (head monk)
labeled Centering Prayer as a "method of prayer, which prepares us
to receive the gift of God's presence, traditionally called
contemplative prayer". It is "Öthe opening of mind and
heart - our whole being - to GodÖ whom we know by faith is within
usÖ Contemplative Prayer is a prayer of silence, an experience of
Godís presenceÖ" 3
The Contemplative Outreach Ltd. website featuring Thomas
Keatingís teachings, provides further insight into the method of
Contemplative Prayer and lists the guidelines to practice it. It
"This method of prayer is a movement
conversation with Christ to communion with Him." "The source of
Centering Prayer, as in
Contemplative Prayer, is the indwelling Trinity: Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit. " "It is also inspired by writings of major
contributors to the Christian contemplative heritage including
John Cassian, the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing,
Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, ThťrŤse of
Lisieux, and Thomas Merton."
Contemplative Prayer "Guidelines include:
1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention
to consent to Godís presence and action within.
2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle
briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol
of your consent to Godís presence and action within.
3. When engaged with your thoughts*, return ever-so
gently to the sacred word.
4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence
with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
include body sensations, feelings, images,
In my research, it became clear that
these Roman Catholic monks were influenced by pagan Eastern
Religions. "During the twenty years (1961-1981) when Keating was
abbot, St. Joseph's held dialogues with Buddhist and Hindu
representatives; and a Zen master gave a week-long retreat to the
monks. A former Trappist monk who had become a Transcendental
Meditation teacher also gave a session to the monks." 5
Not Prayer But Mystical Meditation
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
thought, providing an
union with so-called God or with nature
producing body sensations, feelings, images, and reflections.
It is based on "experiences" rather than sound doctrine. "Ö
give attendanceÖ to doctrine." 1 Timothy 4:13. Faith is to be
based on Godís 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.
Mystical practices are now widely embraced and taught in secular
and professed Christian seminaries, colleges, universities,
organizations, ministries and seminars, etc. throughout the United
States. Academic promoters have introduced these practices into the
fields of medicine, business and law while countless secular and
Christian books, magazines, seminars, and retreats are teaching lay
people how to incorporate them into their daily lives. Promoters
promise physical, mental and spiritual benefits desiring to bring
about positive social change.
One promoter of mystical practices, the "Center for Contemplative
Mind in Society", states:
They "can play a part in the positive transformation of
governments, businesses, and organizations. We are dedicated to
the idea that contemplative awareness, when incorporated into
contemporary life, can help produce a more just, compassionate,
and reflective society." 6
The following Contemplative Practices are listed on their
"- Movement (martial arts, dance, yoga, labyrinth
- Creation (singing, chanting, art, music, etc.)
- Relational (dialogue, deep listening, storytelling,
- Ritual/cyclical (shabbot, vision quest, sweatlodge,
alter building, ceremonies/rituals etc,)
- Activist (work, pilgrimage, mindfulness, vigals/marches,
- Generative (prayer, lectio divina, petitionary prayer,
- Stillness (silence,
insight & sitting meditation, quieting & clearing the mind)"
Stillness, listed as the last practice includes prayer centering
also known as Contemplative Prayer.
Contemplative Prayer is Practiced Far and Wide
While Western religions falsely label Contemplative Prayer as
"Christian" and "prayer", Eastern Pagan religions such Buddhism,
Hinduism, Sufi Muslims have long practiced mystical meditation. A
variety of occult and New Age devotees also practice mystical
meditation styles consistent with Contemplative Prayer.
Since this method of meditation is mystical in nature, it
is important that you know the definition of "mysticism".
An on-line Occult Encyclopedia defines it as:
"A belief in or the pursuit in the unification with the One
or some other principle; the immediate consciousness of God; or
the direct experience of religious truth. Mysticism is nearly
universal and unites most religions in the quest for divinity."
It goes on to state, "Mysticism from the East or from Western
traditions relies on techniques such as:
-repeating over and over a word or phrase (mantras, which
maybe names of deity),
-contemplations of icons or images real or imagined,
-also involved are methods of emptying the mind,
-extreme asceticism and
-in some cultures the use of hallucinogenic drugs."
"Through these and other methods the mind goes blank or passive
and one enters an altered state of consciousness. Buddhists call
this state Nirvana or Satori... New Age people call it at-one-ness,
etc..., Christian mystics perceive they have experienced some kind
of ecstatic union with God." 8
"In mysticism, the altered state of consciousness may be total or
partial. When partial, the state of consciousness is usually only a
feeling. Most generally this feeling is one of unity with God, or
the universe, or of enlightenment." "The experience of being united
with God or nature is called a mystical experience." 9
Philosopher W. T. Stace, "discovered seven common themes of
mysticism when studying Roman Catholic, Protestant, ancient
classical, Hindu, and American agnostic mystical experiences. They
were (1) a unifying vision and perception of the One by the senses
and through many objects; (2) the apprehension of the One as an
inner life; (3) and objective and true sense of reality; (4)
feelings of satisfaction, joy, and bliss; (5) a religious element
that is a feeling of the holy and sacred; (6) a paradoxical feeling;
(7) and inexpressible feelings." 10
Are They Experiencing God or Seducing Spirits?
Contemplative Prayer is described as "an experience of Godís
presence" and "movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion
with Him" resulting in "Öbody sensations, feelings, images, and
So whose "presence" are these people really experiencing?
Interestingly, the Universal Gnostic Church provides some insight
through their guidelines for "Working With Your Spirit Guides":
"If you do not already know your spirit guides, we recommend
you start speaking to them. The basic way of doing this is
through meditation and listening to your intuitive insights."
"Meditation: Meditation is a process of
consciousness into higher planes
while remaining in the
physical plane. There are several meditative techniques. The
Universal Gnostic Church teaches three excellent techniques for
those who want to work with their spirit guides. Essene Healing
Breath Meditation, Kriya Power Meditation, and
"If you already know who your spirit guides are, we recommend
you work with them on a regular basis. You can do that through
channeling, visualization and ritual, divination and
"Channeling: Channeling is a process of recording or
repeating out loud for others what your spirit guides
you or show you
. You can do this by writing it all down
or by recording it with an electronic device. You may also do it
by repeating what is said in a private session or to a large
You may allow your spirit guides to bring other
disincarnate people to deliver messages to you
. When you
channel, you're working with your spirit guides."
"Visualization and Ritual: Visualization of your spirit
guides is a step toward
physical dimension. The easiest way to learn how to visualize
your spirit guides and guardian angel is through the teachings
of the Magickal Order of the Golden Dawn. They teach both the
skills of visualization and ritually working with your spirit
guides and guardian angel."
"Prayer. Praying with your spirit guides is an excellent way
develop a closer relationship
with them. The
Universal Gnostic Church recommends Intentional Prayer and
for that purpose."
Regardless of what the "presence" is labeled (Spirit Guides,
Guardian Angels, Jesus, God, etc.) these people are actually
experiencing seducing spirits also known as demons (1 Timothy
And this is all accomplished through various methods of Spiritism,
also known as Necromancy.
"Spiritism or Necromancy is an occult activity grounded in
the belief that through certain persons acting as mediums or
channels (psychics, necromancers, channelers, etc.) the dead or
the spirit world can be contacted and hidden information can be
acquired from those contacted. Trances and seances are often
used by the medium. The power behind this activity is demonic.
This activity is forbidden by the Lord. 1 Chronicles 10:13, So
Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the
LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and
also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to
inquire of it. (1 Sam. 28:7 gives the context)." 13
In the case of Contemplative Prayer, the individual is really acting
as the channeler or necromancer communicating with demons. This is
strictly forbidden in the Scriptures.
"When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God
giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations
of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one
that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or
that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter,
or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits,
or a wizard, or a
For all that do these
things are an abomination unto the LORD
: and because of
these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from
before thee." Deuteronomy
Thus, those who practice and promote Contemplative Prayer are
really an abomination unto the LORD!
Quotes from Promoters of Contemplative Practices
We "should all without shame enroll as apprentices
in the school of contemplative prayer."
óRichard Foster, Pastor and Author of the book
"Celebration of Discipline", p. 13, 1978 ed.
Recommends "Richard Foster's meaningful work...
Celebration of Discipline...", p.15
"Discipline. This is the means for having
intimacy with God. ... Discipline is control gained by
enforced obedience. It is the deliberate cultivation of inner
So how are intimacy and discipline connected?
...Discipline is the means to that end.", p.21
óChuck Swindoll, Pastor and Author of the book
"So, You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There."
(Note: Understanding and obeying Godís word as
well as prayer is the means for having intimacy with God.
Not the "discipline" of contemplative practices
providing mystical experiences.)
"Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming
into consciousness of what is already there."
óBrennan Manning, Catholic Priest and Author of the book
"Signature of Jesus"
"Use 'breath prayers' throughout the day, as many
Christians have done for centuries.
You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase
that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath."
óRick Warren, Pastor and Author of the book "The
Purpose-Driven Life", p. 89.
"Choose a sacred word or phrase. Consistently use
the same word throughout the prayer.
Begin silently to repeat your sacred word or
óMark Yaconelli, Youth Specialties, National Pastor's Convention
"As we find ourselves caught up in this
meditation, we soon enough realize another change has occurred.
We have almost effortlessly been transported over
into a passive "contemplation" beyond thoughts, emotions, images,
forms, or words."
óJohn Michael Talbot, Christian Musician
Promoters of Contemplative Practices
The following is a list of just some of the secular and
religious promoters of Contemplative Prayer provided by the
"Lighthouse Trails Research Project" 14 website:
: Founder of the
Arcane School, an offshoot of Theosophy - authored several books
through a "spirit guide."
BLANCHARD, KEN: Founder of Ken Blanchard Companies and
"Lead Like Jesus" Leadership Conferences.
BROTHER LAWRENCE: (1605-1691) Carmelite layman, author of
"Practicing the Presence of God". Believed God was in all
CANFIELD, JACK: Creator and author of the "Chicken Soup
for the Soul" series. *New Age.
CRABB, LARRY: *Christian Clinical Psychologist, author,
Spiritual Director and Advisor for American Association of
EDWARDS, TILDEN: Founder of the Shalem Prayer Institute
in Washington, DC
FOSTER, RICHARD: Quaker and Founder of Renovare and author
of "Celebration of Discipline", *the General Editor of
"Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible", and "Prayer:
Finding the Heartís True Home".
FOX, MATTHEW: Former Dominican priest and author of "The
Coming of the Cosmic Christ"; developed Creation
Spirituality; believes that God and Christ are in all things.
KEATING, THOMAS: Catholic monk, Co-father of the modern
day Contemplative Prayer Movement.
KIMBALL, DAN: Author of "The Emerging Church" and
a leader in the Emerging Church Movement. Promotes labyrinths
and lectio divina.
MANNING, BRENNAN: Former Catholic priest, author of
"Ragamuffin Gospel", and "Abbaís Child".
MARX HUBBARD, BARBARA: Influential New Ager who says of
Christians: "Unaware of our evolutionary potential, they
[Christians] prevent the action and response needed to transcend
the terrestrial phase of our existence. They would annihilate
the possibility of Universal Humanity by claiming we have no
right to achieve it."
MCLAREN, BRIAN: Considered the main leader of the Emerging
Church Movement, *New Age Promoter, Pastor
MERTON, THOMAS: Now deceased Catholic monk *who wanted
"to become as good a Buddhist as I can."
(Steindl-Rast, 1969); quoted often by Richard Foster.
NOUWEN, HENRI: Deceased Catholic theologian,
*Contemplative Universalist, author of "In the Name of Jesus"
and "The Way of the Heart".
PECK, M. SCOTT: *Psychiatrist, Author of "The Road
SCHULLER, ROBERT: Pastor of
Crystal Cathedral and the "Hour of Power" television program.
SANFORD, AGNES: *Author of "Healing Light", taught
that the "Kingdom of God is within you".
SHANNON, WILLIAM: New Age
biographer of Thomas Merton.
TEASDALE, WAYNE: Coined the term "interspirituality".
TERESA OF AVILA: *Catholic nun,
author of "Book of Foundations", Quoted by Foster,
UNDERHILL, EVELYN: *Roman Catholic, author of
"Mysticism", wrote 39 books and over 350 articles.
WALSCH, NEAL DONALD: Author of "Conversations with
God" and New Age leader who said, " The era of the Single
Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined
effort, collective co-creation." p. 157
WARREN, RICK: Pastor and author of the "Purpose-Driven
Life". *Promotes his Global P.E.A.C.E. plan involving
WILLIAMSON, MARIANNE: Contributed to making "A Course
in Miracles" well known; currently involved with the
Department of Peace.
YACONELLI, MIKE: The late founder and owner of Youth
Specialties; promoted Contemplative Spirituality. [Mike passed
away in 2003].
YACONELLI, MARK: Son of the late Mike Yaconelli - very
active in the Contemplative Prayer Movement.
*Extra notes added by author.
BLACKABY, HENRY: Author of "Experiencing God"
workbook and seminars. Taught among SBC and Roman Catholics.
Promoted by Rick Warren.
HYBELS, BILL: Pastor of Willowcreek Community Church,
Hosts conferences with Contemplative Speakers such as Larry
Crabb and Brian McLaren. Hosted "Lead Like Jesus" 2004
Conference with Ken Blanchard.
JEREMIAH, DAVID: Pastor of "Turning Point Ministries",
Author of "Life Wide Open", Speaker at Ken Blanchardís
"Lead Like Jesus Seminars" and America Association of Christian
Author and Founder of UpWords.
Speaker on an instructional DVD on Contemplative Prayer, titled ďBe StillĒ which
includes Richard Foster.
MONK KID, SUE: Mystic Author of "God's Joyful
Surprise" a spiritual memoir describing her advent into
contemplative Christian spirituality and "When the Heart
Founder of Living Proof Ministries for
women. Speaker on an instructional DVD on Contemplative Prayer, titled ďBe
StillĒ which includes Richard Foster
NEE, WATCHMAN: Mystic Author of "The Spiritual
ORTBERG, JOHN: Author of "Closer Than You Think",
2005 favorably quotes comtemplatives.
PETERSON, EUGENE: Author of "The Message" bible
translation and the book "The Contemplative Pastor".
SENGE, PETER: Buddhist, Author and Founder of Society for
Organizational Learning. New Age.
SMITH, MICHAEL W.: Christian Musician. Promoter of
Brennan Manningís book "Above All".
STANLEY, CHARLES: SBC Evangelical Pastor, Author "How
to Listen to God". Espouses the belief that God continues to
speak to man today outside of His Word. In the 9/93 In
Touch magazine, Stanley quotes favorably from mystic Richard
Foster's book "The Celebration of Discipline" (9/22).
STANLEY, ANDY: Pastor, Spoke at Ken Blanchardís
"Lead Like Jesus" Conference in October, 2005.
SWINDOLL, CHUCK: Evangelical Pastor of "Insight for
Living", author of "So, You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight
Essentials to Get You There." (A book on the solitude and
silence of Contemplative Prayer.)
TALBOT, JOHN MICHAEL: Christian Musician. Practices Tai
Chi and Yoga. Writes on "Christian Meditation".
Christian College Promotors
Many Christian Colleges promote Contemplative Spirituality. They
include Wheaton College Graduate School, Biola University, Dallas
Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Northern
Baptist Theological Seminary. For a complete list, visit the
"Lighthouse Trails Research Project" website. 15
Promoted through Church and Ministry Programs
Programs promoting Contemplative Practices include: Alpha
Courses, Taizť, Lectio Divina, The Labyrinth (prayer walk), Renovarť,
Guided Imagery, Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo, Centering Prayer, Ignatian
Awareness Examen, The Jesus Prayer, and The Spiritual Exercises of
St. Ignatius. 16 Ministries include: Youth Specialities,
Youth for Christ, Nav Press, Church Growth Institute and Awana
Promoted through the Emerging Church Movement
Another whole paper could be written on the Emerging Church
movement lead by Brian McLaren. In my research, Iíve discovered this
movement is fueled by those who are tired of the Mega churches and
desire to experience "so-called" God in a fresh and new way. Much of
the movement includes Contemplative Practices. Interestingly, Rick
Warren is excited about such a movement. 18
One of the goals mentioned earlier is to bring about social
change. Yet in reality, it is contributing to a universal
spirituality (religious or irreligious) apart from the Bible.
Ray Yungen, author of "A Time of Departing" states
"...contemplative prayer also stands on the threshold of exploding
worldwide. Dr. Larry Crabb, spiritual director for the 50,000 member
American Association of Christian Counselors, has written the
foreword to a recent book 37 that expounds on the future
of spiritual direction in the evangelical church. The authors the
book promotes are... Nouwen, Merton, Foster, Keating, Pennington,
etc. ÖWith that in mind, Dr. Crabb predicted: 'The spiritual climate
is ripe. Jesus seekers across the world are being prepared to
old way of the written code
new way of the Spirit.í" 19
When Clinical Psychologist, Larry Crabb advocates not walking in
"old way of the written code", he means abandoning a careful,
obedient walk of faith according to all of Godís word. The "new way
of the Spirit" means utilizing Contemplative Practices to experience
God. The Bible says, "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways,
and see, and
ask for the old paths
, where [is] the good way,
and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they
said, We will not walk [therein]."
Contemplative Outreach Ltd. states (of the false church), "For
the Church's first sixteen centuries Contemplative Prayer was the
of Christian spirituality. After the Reformation,
this living tradition was virtually lost. Today, with cross-cultural
dialogue and historical research, the recovery of the Christian
contemplative heritage has begun. The method of Centering Prayer, in
the tradition of Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures) is
contributing to this renewal." 20 Lectio Divina is a
mantra whereby a single phrase or word of scripture is repeated over
and over; leading to an "experiential" union with "so-called" God.
Itís a vain repetition strictly forbidden in the Bible.
The goal of the true Biblical church is the Great Commission
given to believers by Jesus Christ - not Contemplative Prayer.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo,
I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen."
Promoters of Contemplative Practices are not teaching the
commands of Jesus Christ.
After comparing Scriptures pertaining to Biblical prayer to the
teachings of Contemplative Prayer, the error is glaring. None
of these contemplative practices are advocated in Scripture. When
anyone chooses not to abide by sound
doctrine, the result is a faulty faith based on experiences or
fables instead of the sure Word of God. Scripture states, "For
the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth,
and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3,4
Listen to this observation by David W. Cloud: "The mystical
"spirituality" that is so popular in evangelical and charismatic
circles today is a yearning for an experiential relationship with
God that downplays the role of faith and Scripture and that exalts
"transcendental" experiences that lift the individual from the
earthly mundane into a higher "spiritual" plane. Biblical prayer is
talking with God; mystical spirituality prayer is meditation and
"centering" and other such things. Biblical Christianity is a
patient walk of faith; mystical spirituality is more a flight of
fancy. Biblical study is analyzing and meditating upon the literal
truth of the Scripture; mystical spirituality focuses on a "deeper
meaning"; it is more allegorical and "transcendental" than literal."
True faith can only come by the hearing of the Word of God. "So
then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God".
Romans 10:17 The mind of the believer is then to be
transformed by the Word of God which reveals Godís will for the
believer. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what
[is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2 All of the mind is to be used to love God according
to His Word. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind." Matthew 22:37
Believers are to have a sound mind. "For God hath not
given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a
sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. A mind in an
altered state of consciousness inviting demon activity is anything
but a sound mind. It is entertaining a seducing spirit masquerading
as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14. Every thought
of the believer is to brought to the obedience of Christ rather than
influenced by demons, our own flesh or the world. "Casting down
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the
knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Contemplative Practices are infiltrating evangelical and
fundamental churches which is contributing to the unbiblical
Ecumenical movement already underway. This is due to Pastors
ignoring sound doctrine and allowing false teachings.
Ecumenicalism (also known as Interdenominationism, Interfaith,
and Interspiritualism) is a movement toward a worldwide false church
consisting of religions (including false, apostate Christians)
joining together by:
1. Agreeing on a portion of biblical doctrines or as they often
state "core teachings,"
2. Ignoring the remaining biblical doctrines and
3. Promoting false doctrines. (Psychology, Evolution, Contemplative
It is a religious unity movement falsely promoted in the name of
Godís love yet it is not based on the full counsel of God. This
false Ecumenical unity causes great confusion and error to those not
well grounded in Godís Word.
In Richard Foster's book "Streams of Living Water", he says the
following with regard to his vision for "a great gathering of the
people of God: "I see a Catholic monk from the hills of Kentucky
standing alongside a Baptist evangelist ... I see a people". 22
"Contemplative consciousness," says [Thomas] Merton, is "a
trans-cultural, trans-religious, trans-formed consciousness Ö it can
shine through this or that system, religious or irreligious" 23
So what does the Bible have to say when it comes to dealing with
false teachings? God commands true believers to "...come out
from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not
the unclean thing; and I will receive you" 2 Corinthians 6:17.
Contemplative Prayer appears to be paving the way to the False
Prophet's One World Religious system mentioned in Revelations 17 and
18. Revelation 18:4, though specifically referring to the time when
the Antichrist rules on earth, offers good advice for believers to
follow today in the matter of demonic teachings such as
Contemplative Prayer -- "And I heard another voice from heaven,
saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her
sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some
shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and
doctrines of devils; 7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and
exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness." 1 Timothy 4:1, 7
First, if you are not born again according to the Word of
God, I would invite you to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ alone for salvation.
Second, to protect yourself from seducing spirits and
doctrines of devils, use the King James Version of the Bible.
Despite numerous myths, thorough research reveals the KJV is the
most accurate English word for word translation. It includes all of
the words; no verses or portions of verses are missing. The Bible
says "every word" of God is important (Proverbs 14:15, Proverbs
30:5, Matthew 4:4). Modern counterfeit bibles including "The
Message" by Eugene Peterson and "Renovare Spiritual Formation
Bible", have replaced Godís words with New Age terminology further
deceiving unsuspecting readers.
Dave Hunt expresses his concern. "Many Christian leaders promote
wicked Bible versions such as Eugene Peterson's The Message (NavPress,
1993: see TBC Oct '95) that pervert God's Word. Men like Peterson
have no conscience about changing what God says, replacing His words
with their own. Peterson is praised for this perversion by many
Christian leaders such as J.I. Packer, Warren Wiersbe, Jack W.
Hayford, and Richard Foster, founder of the Renovare Movement and
General Editor of the "Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible" (Harper
San Francisco, 2005". 24
Third, study the Scriptures in their context and define the
words using Strongís Concordance. False teachings are
typically based on Scriptures, or portions of verses, taught outside
of the context they were written. Satan misquoted Godís Word to
Jesus himself. Yet, Jesus defeated Satan by quoting Scripture
Fourth, have faith in what God teaches you in His Word and
obey it. Satan is great at leading people to doubt Godís Word.
Remember, the old Serpent deceived Eve, leading her first to doubt
His Word, then deny Godís Word, which lead to her deifying herself Ė
she chose her own way instead of Godís way. (Genesis 3:1,4,5)
Fifth, before you choose to read any literature, research the
authorsí beliefs and practices. Understand their definitions for
terms and compare them to scripture. Also, learn who they endorse
and associate with.
Sixth, if you realize you have accepted a false teaching,
The Scripture promises "Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Seventh, earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), by
warning others of false teachings. 2Preach the word;
be instant in season, out of season; reprove (convict), rebuke
(admonish), exhort (instruct) with all long suffering and doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:2
Eighth, practice biblical separation from those who will not
repent of false teachings. "Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will
increase unto more ungodliness.17 And their word will eat as doth a
canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;18 Who concerning the
truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and
overthrow the faith of some." 2 Timothy 2:15-18
1 Websterís 1828 Dictionary, http://www.cbtministries.org/resources/webster1828.htm
2 Websterís 1828 Dictionary, http://www.cbtministries.org/resources/webster1828.htm
3 Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/cntrgpryr.htm#Centering%20Prayer
4 Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/methodcp.htm
5 Catholic Answers, "The Danger of Centering Prayer" by By
Rev. John D. Dreher, http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9711fea1.asp
6 The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, http://www.contemplativemind.org/about/faq.html
7 The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree.html
8 Mystical Deception Files by Noah Dove, http://www.dtl.org/cults/article/mystical.htm
9 The Mystica Mythical-Folk, Occult Encyclopedia,
10 The Mystica Mythical-Folk, Occult Encyclopedia,
11 Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.
12 Universal Gnostic Church,
13 Logos Resource Pages, "Primer For Recognizing Occult
14 Lighthouse Trails Research Project,
15 Lighthouse Trails Research Project,
16 The Berean Call,
17 Lighthouse Trails Research Project,
18 Lighthouse Trails Research Project,
19 A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen, p.137; 37
-David G. Benner, Sacred Companions: The Gift of SpiritualFriendship
& Direction, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2002, p.9
20 Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.
21 Way of Life, David Cloud,
22 Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, article titled
23 "Thoughts on the East" p.34 by Thomas Merton
24 Dave Hunt, The Berean Call, August 2005 Newsletter,
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