My pastor is in the process of being out for six weeks on a sabbatical. (Wish I could do that.) In his absence, the Elders at my church have been filling the empty pulpit with a guest preacher/speaker. Every message spoken by this man has, so far, lifted up one contemplative author after another – and scripture, (for lack of a better way to describe it), is lacking.
After his last message, my dear husband (who’d had enough), got with this guy and asked him if he knew that the authors he kept promoting were ‘”Christian” mystics’. His response? Not only was he ‘aware’ of it, he was also quite pleased. In further discussion, my husband discovered that this gentleman was in love with the “wonderful lessons out of the Catholic faith”.
Rule #1: When in doubt (or just making sure what I’m hearing lines up), I study. After all, the Warrior’s motto is to BE the Berean.
Since mere scripture isn’t enough to satisfy this gentleman ( ! ) , I will print out what I found on Wikipedia and pray God opens his eyes.
Historically, Christian mysticism has taught that for Christians the major emphasis of mysticism concerns a spiritual transformation of the ego-self, the following of a path designed to produce more fully realized human persons, “created in the Image and Likeness of God” and as such, living in harmonious communion with God, the Church, the rest of world, and all creation, including oneself.
For Christians, this human potential is realized most perfectly in Jesus, precisely because he is both God and human, and is manifested in others through their association with him, whether conscious or unconscious such as case of Christian mystics, with regard to spiritual persons who follow other traditions, such as Gandhi. The Eastern Christian tradition speaks of this transformation in terms of theosis or divinization, perhaps best summed up by an ancient aphorism usually attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria: “God became human so that man might become god.”
I’m deeply saddened to see New Age seeping/slithering into the church — because the church has not only closed its eyes but squeezed them tightly shut.
This is the same spiritual message that has been trying to push through since the Garden of Eden. In the background is Satan’s voice whispering, “You…shall be …’like’ God…” Genesis 3:4
But when Man tried to be “like” his Creator, what was God’s response? And yet Contemplatives do not make this connection. IHOP’s leader, Mike Bickle, promotes contemplative practices. He’s a huge advocate of it. (Just check out their bookstore.) Sadly however, the majority of the IHOP interns are NEW believers in Christ – swallowing these teachings hook, line and sinker.
On occasion an intern or two has had their eyes opened to this error and either leaves IHOP by their own choice or gets booted out by IHOP leadership – once they’ve openly voiced their concerns about the IHOP doctrine (even possibly) being incorrect. They ALL have the same story: “If you leave IHOP, you lose all your friends that you’ve made there. It’s pretty much the unspoken rule to distance yourself from whoever who wants to leave.” Isn’t that what happens in cults? But that, as well as why Catholicism is a pagan religion, is another thread.